Chair of Waitangi National Trust calls for Te Tiriti o Waitangi to return to Waitangi

By Raniera Harrison

The newly-appointed Chair of the Waitangi National Trust, Pita Tipene, wants the original Treaty of Waitangi document to be permanently housed in Waitangi.

Speaking exclusively to Te Kāea today, Mr. Tipene, who was voted in as Chairman of the Waitangi National Trust on Sunday says that “the Board and the people, in general, want the Treaty returned home.”

This comes as the Waitangi National Trust is revelling in this year’s successful commemorations of the signing of the national document.

“Even though I'm talking about the repatriation and return of the Treaty of Waitangi. We shouldn't forget that even the Treaty has a predecessor. The Declaration of Independence should return home also. They should go together.”

The Treaty of Waitangi original document, alongside the 1835 ‘He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni’ (Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand), are currently housed in a light-sensitive, purpose-built facility that mitigates heat, humidity and vibrational threats to the documents at the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington.

The two documents were transported to the National Library from the Archives NZ site in Wellington in April 2017 alongside the 1893 Te Pētihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine (The Women's Suffrage Petition). However, Tipene says the sacred documents should return home.

“Over the years it has been chewed at by rats, some of the corners of the document have become frayed. So considerate care needs to be taken when it returns to its home location” he adds.

Te Kāea has been in contact with the Department of Internal Affairs, and namely the office of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Tracey Adams who has signalled she will issue a response to the statements made by Mr. Tipene today.

Tipene, who has been on the Trust Board of the Waitangi National Trust since 2016, as a member of the family of Maihi Kawiti, says the Board are looking at options following the largely successful commemorations this year of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Northern regional correspondent, Raniera Harrison, will have the details on Te Kāea, tonight on Māori Television at 5:30pm.