Treaty poster

It is acknowledged by Treaty of Waitangi historians and experts that the final English draft of the Treaty, which provided the text for the Māori translation, went missing in February 1840. From historical references, we know that this document was written by British Resident, James Busby. Captain William Hobson handed the final draft to Reverend Henry Williams on the 4th of February 1840 for translation into Te Tiriti O Waitangi.

In mid-March 1989 an English language version of the Treaty of Waitangi was found in Pukekohe, South Auckland, when members of the Littlewood family were sorting out the estate of their deceased mother. This old sheet of paper has subsequently been identified to be in the handwriting of British Resident, James Busby, by New Zealand’s leading handwriting expert of documents from the early colonial era, Dr Phil Parkinson, librarian, Alexander Turnbull Library.

A feature of the document is that it is dated the 4th of February 1840. It is written on paper bearing a W. Tucker 1833 watermark.

The 'Littlewood Treaty' is a precise translation of te Tiriti of Waitangi, apart from the date (being two days earlier) and the insertion of the word ‘māori’ into article three.

Below is a copy of the Treaty of Waitangi and te Tiriti o Waitangi, side by side. Feel free to download and print a copy.

Click here to download.