Learn about what was happening before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.
The Flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand
Maori trade ships needed a flag to visit other countries. They would sail to Australia with food. When the ships had a flag they could safely visit other countries because people knew it was a ship from New Zealand and not pirates.
The Declaration of Independence
Before the Treaty, all of New Zealand belonged to Maori.
There were mainly whalers, sealers and traders visiting New Zealand.
Many of the people who came to New Zealand behaved badly because there were no prisons or police for visitors. Maori people had tikanga/customs and rules, but Europeans did not.
Maori hapu came together and wrote a declaration of independence in 1835.
It means that Maori were in charge. They agreed to meet together to make rules and keep everyone organised.
Te Ara: Take a look at the Declaration of Independence