New Zealand’s Important Documents and Events Timeline
From the list of Important Documents and Events below, there is no doubt the 16 November 1840 was the day we received our Founding Document, our first Constitution and New Zealand became an Independent British Colony, all issued under Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter dated the 16 November 1840.
While the Treaty of Waitangi gave Sovereignty to Britain under the jurisdiction of New South Wales and Maori the same rights as the people of England under English Law, Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter, “Enacted the Colony of New Zealand and Created and Established a Legislative Council, an Executive Council, our Courts and granted certain powers and authority to the Governor for the time being of the said Colony”? While all other documents or events in our history have been given recognition in the development of New Zealand, the Royal Charter dated the 16 November 1840 (in red below) has been completely ignored for 173 years. Have you heard of Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter?
Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter is our True Founding Document and First Constitution.
1642 December 13, Abel Tasman the first confirmed European sighting of New Zealand.
1769 October 6, Captain James Cook sights East Coast of NZ.
1815 Congress of Vienna. European powers agree, at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, that New Zealand would belong to Britain, according to the Book of Dates.
1817,1823,1828 Acts to bring law and order to New Zealand, but as New Zealand was outside the British Dominion they were unsuccessful.
1820 Hongi Hika, Ngapuhi travels to England and sells Frenchman Baron Charles de Thierry 40,000 acres of land for 500 muskets. On his return to New Zealand Hika goes on the rampage south slaughtering, making slaves or feasting on thousands of his unarmed countrymen, women and children. Waikato depopulates Taranaki, Taranaki virtually depopulates the Chatham Islands of the Moriori and Te Rauparaha depopulates the South Island. By 1840 it is estimated 60,000 Maori had been slaughtered or taken as slaves during the intertribal musket wars.
1829 Edward Gibbon Wakefield publishes Letter From Sydney that lays out colonisation plans.
1831 William Yate asks 13 northern chiefs to sign a letter to King William IV asking him to be their guardian and protector. “We are a people without possessions (taonga). We have nothing but timber, flax, pork and potatoes, we sell these things, however to your people, and then we see the property (toanga) of your people. It is only thy land, which is liberal towards us. We have heard that the tribe of Marian (France) is at hand coming to take away our land, therefore we pray thee become our friend and the guardian of these islands, lest the teasing of other tribes should come near us, and lest strangers should come and take away our land”.
1832 The British Colonial Office decides to appoint a British Resident to New Zealand. James Busby is appointed.
1834 James Busby holds a meeting of 25 chiefs in March 1834 to select a flag under which NZ ships could sail. A flag already used by the Church Missionary Society was selected.
1835 Busby believed that a French eccentric, Baron Charles de Thierry, was part of a French plot to annex NZ so he decided to declare NZ Independent, on October 28, 1835, under the sovereignty of the United Tribes of NZ. Busby presented ‘his’ Declaration of Independence to the chiefs but only 39 chiefs sign it before it was abandoned due to the continuing inter-tribal fighting. It became evident that the chiefs did not have the ability or will to form a united government to bring law and order under one flag and one law to a country that was fast becoming completely out of control. A total of 52 chiefs signed the Declaration by 1839.
1837 Captain William Hobson visits New Zealand. Hobson recommends that British sovereignty apply to small areas where British commercial enterprises could be established with taxes levied and British law applying to those living there, and some sort of treaty may be necessary to gain Maori permission. This was abandoned.
1838 During April and May a select committee of the British House of Lords considers options for New Zealand. Its report reluctantly recommends concluding a treaty with Maori as part of a policy to extend British rule to cover New Zealand and that the rights of Maori be protected.
1839 The NZ Company concludes a Deed of Purchase of the Port Nicholson (Wellington) area on September 29, 1839, forcing the British government to intervene. Colonial Secretary Lord Normanby issues instructions to Hobson on August 14, 1839.
1840 It was estimated half the Maori population had been slaughtered or taken as slaves by their fellow bloodthirsty countrymen as well as their chiefs had sold or had contract over 2/3 of New Zealand by 1840, mostly with Deeds Registered in the New South Wales Supreme Court, some possible still valid today. New Zealand was completely out of control; Britain had to intervene.
January 30 Hobson arrives and issues Proclamations, that no existing land titles in NZ would be recognized as valid unless confirmed by the British Government and then would be reduced to 2560 acres with invalid sales and reduced lands being return to the chiefs that sold the land with the purchases losing their payments or deposits.
February 1- 4 Hobson and Busby draft the Treaty of Waitangi based on instructions from Lord Normandy and Hobson delivers the final draft to Rev Williams at 4-00 pm on the 4 February.
February 4 Rev Williams and his son Edward translate the final draft into the Maori language. The Tiriti o Waitangi was the only Treaty authorised by Hobson to be signed by the chiefs.
February 5 Hobson reads the Treaty in English and Williams reads the Treaty in Maori to the gathering of 2000 people. The chiefs discuss it with Hobson for 5 hours then well into the night with the missionaries and decide it is to their advantage to sign the Tiriti the next morning.
February 6 Forty-three chiefs sign the Tiriti o Waitangi at Waitangi. Hobson later stating, “This instrument I consider to be de facto the Treaty, and all signatures that are subsequently obtained are merely testimonials to the terms of that original document”. In total 512 chief sign the Tiriti o Waitangi between February 6 and June 3.
May 21 Britain declares sovereignty over the Islands of New Zealand under the jurisdiction of NSW and Maori are given the same rights as the people of England under English Law. Queen Victoria did not have the power or authority to give Maori special rights in the Tiriti o Waitangi not already enjoyed by all the people of England under English Law.
July 20 France accepts British Sovereignty, “That sovereignty had been procured in a manner such as could be approved by other nations”.
August 7 The New South Wales Continuance Act, which pronounced the Islands of New Zealand to be a British Colony, was passed in Britain. While the Treaty has great significance to Maori, it has little significance to other races. “The chiefs placed in the hands of the Queen of England, the Sovereignty and the authority to make laws. It was their chiefs that ceded that right to the Queen” “If you think these things are wrong then blame your ancestors who gave away their rights when they were strong”. Sir Apirana Ngata, Minister of Native Affairs, M.A., Ll.B., Lit.D,
The Treaty of Waitangi was an agreement between Queen Victoria and Maori where Britain gained Sovereignty over the Islands of New Zealand and Maori were given the same rights as the people of England under the jurisdiction of New South Wales. While no Europeans, other than Hobson signed the Treaty of Waitangi, they inherited the same rights as if living in England under English Law. The Tiriti o Waitangi was not our Founding Document.
Our True Founding Document and First Constitution was Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter dated the 16 November 1840.
1840 November 16 Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter ‘Enacted the Colony of New Zealand and Created and Established a Legislative Council, an Executive Council and the Courts and granted certain powers and authority to the Governor for the time being of the said Colony’. New Zealand became an Independent British Colony from New South Wales under the watchful eye of the British Parliament. The Royal Charter gave New Zealand its Independence as a British Colony and was our True Founding Document and First Constitution.
1841 May 24 Hobson presides over the first sitting of the Legislative Council. He cites the Charter dated November 16 as the authority for him to assume the position of governor and commander in chief and to appoint an executive council.
1846 The British Government sent a second Constitution to New Zealand but was declined at the time by the Colonial Government.
1852 The second Constitution was amended and was adopted by the Colonial Government. It has continued to be amended and added to over the following years. Prime Minister John Key is on public record as saying; “We have a strong legal basis and constitutional framework” (Hansard, Volume 662, page 10238).
1860 The Chiefs at the Kohimarama Conference unanimously declare, “Let this meeting be joined to the Treaty of Waitangi, let us urge upon the Government not to withhold it from us, the recognition of the Queen’s Sovereignty and the unions of the two races”.
1907 The Colony of New Zealand was replaced with Dominion of New Zealand.
1911 New Zealand was granted a Coat of Arms by King George V. The Coat of Arms proclaimed the sovereign nature of New Zealand and the authority of the Government with the the word “ONWARD” on the bottom.
1917 Governor became Governor General of New Zealand 1930
1930 – 1947 All significant Maori grievances were heard by the Courts and either, “full and finally” settled or rejected by Parliament. They were alleged breaches of the Law, not the Treaty.
1947 New Zealand adopted the Statute of Westminster. The Statute granted complete autonomy to New Zealand in domestic as well as foreign affairs. All the people of New Zealand became New Zealand Citizens under one flag and one Law. The reigning monarch became our Head of State.
1949 Passports changed from British Subjects to New Zealand Citizens.
1956 Queen Elizabeth ll granted New Zealand its own Coat of Arms. The Coat of Arms proclaims the Sovereignty of New Zealand, its Government and its people and is seen on all documents of National significance and Constitutional matters. The word “ONWARD” on the bottom was changed to “NEW ZEALAND”
While the Tiriti o Waitangi gave Britain Sovereignty over the Island of New Zealand under the jurisdiction of New South Wales and Maori the same rights as the people of England under English Law, Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter gave New Zealand Independence from New South Wales, our Founding Document and our first Constitution, therefore, the One New Zealand Foundation Inc. believe November the 16 must be the Day we celebrated as our Independence Day. The Day we became an Independent British Colony under one flag and one law. The End.
Independence Day 16 November A Day of National Celebration.
Prepared by the One New Zealand Foundation Inc. 5/10/2013. www.onenzfoundation.co.nz