The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are where the treaty between the Maori chiefs and the British settlers was signed in 1840, setting off decades of land wars and grievances that are not settled to this day.
The visitor center offers tours of the Treaty Grounds, including a 70-year-old refurbished war canoe called a waka that still goes on the water every year on Waitangi Day, holding 80 paddlers.
Visitors are also taken to a beautiful carved Maori meeting house and offered a lovely cultural show that's a respectful look into Maori culture.
By AFAR Traveler, AFAR Contributor
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
The day that changed history—that’s how New Zealanders refer to February 6, 1840, the date a representative of the British Crown and 40 Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi. The founding document of the nation, it established British sovereignty over the islands. While the treaty has proved a sometimes-controversial agreement, Waitangi Day is now a national holiday. Here, you can tour the Treaty House, the Carved Meeting House and the flagstaff that marks the spot where the treaty was signed. A new two-story museum recounting the history of British and Maori relations and the events leading up to the treaty opened in February 2016.