Treaty of Waitangi or How the British went all “EMPIRE HO!” on New Zealand. 14/3/16

Gunboat Diplomacy isn’t a old concept, before the age of nuclear weapons and widespread communication if a strong country wanted something they took it.


Anybody who’s well versed in the Civilization series knows that diplomacy only goes so far and if a troublesome Civ is being a pain well, say hello to my fleet of battleships and thanks for all those resources mate.

Britain saw New Zealand and thought the same thing, here’s a small island nation with a whole bunch of trees [and big tall ones perfect for ships masts. a very valuable thing in those times] and went “we want that, we deserve that. screw the ‘savages’ who live there.”

Hoping that they could just pull the same thing they did in other countries, but this time it wasn’t going to work out the way they wanted.


  1. Explain with at least 2 specific examples (events, dates, places) how the history of the treaty fits in with the larger global events of that error.
    1. During the time the British concept of empire was collapsing, the British in America were getting increasingly unruly and the french were more than happy to help disestablish the situation. The Germans had recently glued themselves together and suddenly there was a colossally powerful country slap in the middle of Europe and they wanted a piece  of the Empire pie.
      And the upcoming scramble for Africa only compounded the issue
    2. The British were very thinly spread, during the signing of the treaty the first opium war was just about to begin and the British very clearly wanted this situation neatly sorted as soon as possible and figured that the ‘savages’ could easily be subdued.
  2. Review one of the documents (the story of the treaty parts 1 and 2) . Discuss something new or interesting you have learned about NZ history from these readings.  Explain why you think it is interesting.

    I wasn’t aware of how few people actually signed the treaty, and that the British were like “well that guy over the hill there did, so this land here? yeah its ours. Why? Well..there’s this flag…and this gun…”

  3. What does the united nations have to do with the Treaty?
    1. What document is important regarding this?
    2. Discuss 3 sections or statements from this document that have a significant impact on how NZ must deal with the Treaty.
      the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent
      rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, eco-
      nomic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual tradi-
      tions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands,
      territories and resources,

      This is the core of the issue with the treaty, large amounts of maori were here first and the British came along and took it.

      however in terms of keeping culture alive I feel like new zealand has done a great job at this, Maori culture is rich and deeply influences New Zealand’s image, however we do go overboard in early schooling where it can easily feel overwhelming.

      that indigenous peoples, in the exercise of their rights,
      should be free from discrimination of any kind

      It’s currently illegal to discriminate against people based on their race, gender, sexuality and other characteristics. However due to social economic forces minority/native populations are often discriminated against in the justice system.

      that the situation of indigenous peoples varies from
      region to region and from country to country and that the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical
      and cultural backgrounds should be taken into consideration

      The treaty came along, was rushed into signing and didn’t take into consideration a vast amount of Maori tribes in the region, often who had vastly conflicting cultures.

  4. What are your thoughts on minority indigenous groups having the right to govern themselves, when they have been colonized by a larger, more dominant culture?

    Colonization isn’t always a bad thing, take for instance Africa, before the Europeans turned up the native Africans [due to the fact that Africa is a massive continent but lacks easily domesticated animals and few easily used rivers excluding the Nile in the north] heavily helped advance them, but due to the ww1 messing everything up the Europeans had to rapidly pull out and left no real replacement governments in and the whole situation went to shit.

    However, Indigenous populations do have the right to self governing, and a colonizing country should just be there to help advance them.

  5. Think about the idea of governing and protecting indigenous cultures  rights (intellectual as well (c)) and way of life.  Come up with one example of modern laws or examples of events where indigenous people have things in place to protect there culture and way of life.

    I doubt you’ve had this one before, but the Sentinelese of North Sentinel island of the coast of India.

    the Sentinelese are essentially a uncontacted tribe who’s culture and ways are nearly unknown to the outside world. they live in a near stone age society with an estimated population of 250-300. and brutally attack any people trying to make contact. once the British managed to 6 of them, [two elders and four children] the elders quickly died and the children were sent back with large amounts of gifts. otherwise the country has been declared an exclusion zone and nobody is allowed to visit.

  6. What threat does our digital age pose to indigenous and the small business alike and what measures are there to stop this from happening?

    Preventing massive corporations and uncaring countries from coming and stepping all over the smaller native populations and small business alike

    Examples would be as follows, Walmart in the states. and the Chinese in Africa.
    Whenever Walmart comes into a town it tends to just out-compete with ‘mom and pop’ stores, offering vastly cheaper products all in the same place, eventually what happens is these smaller stores are forced out of business and you reach a situation where there’s such little competition in a town that Walmart is the only vendor there.

    China is currently doing much the same, they are coming into Africa. setting up huge mines to harvest the rare materials and then just packing up and leaving without helping the natives at all.

    In conclusion, the treaty of waitangi is just another example of large countries taking what they want, and if it wasn’t for the civil wars and general unrest in the world new Zealand would’ve just been another case of Big Britannia coming and cleaning up, much like what they did in Australia.


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