Story: Te Tiriti o Waitangi – the Treaty of Waitangi

Māori and European population numbers, 1840–1881

This graph shows the dramatic change in the proportions of Māori and non-Māori during the 19th century. When the treaty was signed in 1840 Māori were overwhelmingly dominant, and this may have contributed to the willingness of many rangatira to sign a partnership agreement with the Crown. Over the following decades, the Māori population declined while the number of non-Māori increased rapidly. From the 1870s many non-Māori felt they could ignore the treaty, since Māori were no longer a significant political or economic force.

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Source: T. Papps, ‘Growth and distribution of population.’ In Population of New Zealand / Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific 12, 2 vols. New York: United Nations, 1985, vol. 1, tables 8 & 17; Ian Pool, Te iwi Maori: a New Zealand population, past, present & projected. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1991, p. 58; Statistics New Zealand

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How to cite this page:

Claudia Orange, 'Te Tiriti o Waitangi – the Treaty of Waitangi - Dishonouring te tiriti – 1860 to 1880', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 July 2024)

Story by Claudia Orange, published 20 Jun 2012, reviewed & revised 28 Mar 2023 with assistance from Claudia Orange