Story: Empire and Commonwealth

Signing the Treaty (1st of 2)

Signing the Treaty

In this mid-20th century painting showing the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the prominence of the Union Jack, surrounded by Māori chiefs and colonial officials, highlights the centrality of the British Empire in New Zealand's founding. As shown here, Pākehā settlers were present during discussions, but they were not allowed to take part – the treaty was between Māori and the Crown. At the time this image was painted, many New Zealanders strongly felt the importance of the empire.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: NON-ATL-0173
Artwork by Marcus King

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

W. David McIntyre, 'Empire and Commonwealth - Expansion of the British Empire', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 4 February 2023)

Story by W. David McIntyre, published 20 Jun 2012