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 Grounds are part of the 506 hectare (1000 acre) Waitangi National Trust estate, which was gifted to the nation by Lord and Lady Bledisloe in 1932. In the Deed of Gift, Lord Bledisloe stipulated that the estate was never to be a burden on the tax payer, and as such it is not government funded. The estate is administered by the Waitangi National Trust Board, whose members represent various sections of New Zealand people.
Features of the Treaty Grounds include:
- The Treaty House - built for the first British Resident, James Busby and his family. It is one of New Zealand's oldest and most visited historic homes
- Te Whare Runanga - fully carved Maori Meeting House, which is representative of all Iwi (regional tribes) in New Zealand
- Ngatokimatawhaorua - one of the world's largest Maori ceremonial war canoes
- The imposing Naval flagstaff - which marks the place where the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed
- Waitangi Visitors Centre - with an audio visual show outlining the history of Waitangi and the Bay of Islands and live cultural performances