Waitangi Treaty Grounds
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds, overlooking the Bay of Islands, is New Zealand's pre-eminent historic site. It was here on February 6th, 1840, that the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed between Maori and the British Crown. The Treaty House, the Whare Runanga and Ngatokimatawhaorua are the key taonga (treasures) of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, along with the natural beauty of the estate itself. Within and around these treasured buildings are many artefacts and artworks that are the taonga of the Trust. Some, such as our Goldie and other original paintings, are held and cared for securely by other professional insitutions such as Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Te Papa/The Museum of New Zealand and the National Library. The Waitangi National Trust estate comprises 506 hectares and includes the site where the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed on the 6th of February 1840. The public have access to this important historic site because it was purchased by Lord and Lady Bledisloe in 1932, and gifted to the people of New Zealand in trust. Lord Bledisloe was Governor-General of New Zealand at the time, and he and Lady Bledisloe visited the property at the suggestion of a local lawyer and MP, Vernon Reed. (Reed had been unable to convince successive governments to purchase the land when it came up for sale). After only five years in New Zealand and one visit to Waitangi, the Bledisloes recognised the importance of Waitangi as the birthplace of New Zealand as a nation. In November 1932, a Deed of Trust set out the objectives for a place of historic interest, recreation, enjoyment, and benefit for the people of New Zealand, and for the governance of it. Priority was given to the repair and restoration of the former home of the first British Resident to New Zealand, James Busby and his wife Agnes. Initially called the "Residency" the house was renamed, at the request of Lord Bledisloe, to the Treaty House. Driving directions: From Auckland take State Highway One north, following the Twin Coast Discovery tourist route, 165 km to Whangarei. Continue on SH1 approximately 60 km further north, to the point where SH1 bends left to the town of Kawakawa. Follow the signs straight ahead at this junction, a further 15 km to Paihia. The waterfront road through Paihia arrives at a roundabout. Waitangi Treaty Grounds is signposted straight ahead, across a narrow vehicle bridge. Driving time approximately 3 hours. Travel Guide New Zealand proudly presents this listing to you. Hopefully, when you visit Paihia and are looking for places to visit you will consider Waitangi Treaty Grounds. And if you do decide to visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds remember to come back to Travel Guide and share your experience.