The birth place of New Zealand is in Waitangi on the 6th of February, 1840. The
Treaty of Waitangi was signed but to this day, there is still dispute and mixed feelings on what the treaty reads. There is a Maori and English version which with the translations, contradict each other.
Hone heke pokai was the first person to sign the treaty and also the first to protest it. Queen Victoria had asked her people to own the newly discovered land. While some agreed to it, Henry wisely said that the Maoris are warriors and wont allow anyone to take over. He suggested to write a treaty that will allow the Maoris to own the land and let the settlers stay. There in lies the contradictions. The English version says that Queen Victoria owns the land, the Maori version says that the Maoris continue to own the land. This has never been resolved.
There are three official flags for New Zealand, a Maori flag, an English flag and the modern version that was made in 1902. This is one of very few countries that has three national flags. You can see them in front of the water on Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Across the water, from a 30 minute boat ride is Russell, the oldest town in New Zealand. Today, it is a very simple, quite expensive town with a few stores and restaurants but back then, it was the where any passersby would stop. Pirates, explorers, and anything in between would stop by Russell to rejuvenate. It was actually the filthiest place, full of bars and brothels and dirty as can be.
On the Treaty grounds, there is a marae, the Maori word for a meeting house. To enter, the Maoris give a welcome chant but this is one of the very few that all are welcome to enter. This marae has two sculptures, the one on the top is the first person to come to New Zealand. He went back to his home island because he found it too cold. His great-grandson came back to New Zealand to settle there and became the first inhabitant. Inside, the carvings tell the history of New Zealand and its gods and goddesses. This marae is featured in the $50 bill.
Waitangi is full of history, fun activities, beautiful scenery and I couldn’t get enough of it. I highly recommend checking it out if you ever get to visit New Zealand!