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The Treaty of Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi is regarded as a founding document of New Zealand. First signed at Waitangi on 6 February 1840, the Treaty is an agreement between Maori and the British Crown and affirms for Maori their status as the indigenous people of New Zealand.

The Treaty comprises three articles. The first grants to the Queen of England the right to "govern" New Zealand while the second article guarantees Maori possession of their lands, forests, fisheries and other resources. The third and final article gives Maori all the citizenship rights of British subjects. There are outstanding claims by Maori that the Crown has breached the Treaty, particularly the guarantees under the second article. Since 1992, the Government has developed processes and policies to enable the Crown and Maori to settle any Treaty of Waitangi claim relating to events that occurred before September 1992.

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