Te Tai – Treaty Settlement Stories

Story: Ngāti Porou

Ngati Porou: He kawenata tapu

St Mary's Church

St Mary’s Church in Tikitiki, 1963.
Alexander Turnbull Library. Reference: AWM-0442-F

In this webisode we look at Ngati Porou’s experience of Christianity before the signing of the Treaty. We look at how this shaped their understanding of the Treaty as a sacred covenant forged between the Iwi and Queen Victoria.

Key themes in this webisode:

The Treaty of Waitangi as a covenant

The concept of a covenant comes from the Bible – the idea of a sacred agreement between parties. Ngati Porou saw the Treaty as a covenant between themselves and Queen Victoria. Ngati Porou leaders signed the Treaty because they could foresee that they would soon be overwhelmed by Pakeha.  

The articles of the Treaty of Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi includes three written articles and a verbal agreement. The written articles guarantee Maori government, undisturbed possession of their taonga, and British rights for Maori. The verbal agreement guarantees protection for all religions and Maori custom.

The land wars

When the land wars broke out in the 1860s land confiscation by the Crown affected many iwi. The Kingitanga and Hauhau movements emerged but Ngati Porou did not support these Maori initiatives. Instead Ngati Porou remained true to itself and came together to protect its people and lands from outside threats. Ngati Porou leaders did not want the Crown to strip them of their lands.

Focus questions

Below are some questions to consider before watching webisode three. Once you have watched it, come back to these questions. You may want to change your answers or add to them.

1. What did Ngati Porou believe they were signing when they signed the Treaty of Waitangi?

Theme: Mana Motuhake

What kinds of guarantees did the Treaty of Waitangi promise to iwi? Do a group brainstorm with your classmates to record what you already know about the Treaty of Waitangi.

2. Who did Ngati Porou think the Treaty of Waitangi was between?

Theme: Mana Motuhake

Who were the parties that signed the Treaty? Who signed on behalf of each party? Write your answers down on a piece of paper or on the whiteboard before you watch the webisode. Then revisit your answer after you have watched it to see how close you were.

3. Why do you think Ngati Porou embraced Christianity?

Theme: Turangawaewae

Write your answers down on a piece of paper or on the whiteboard before you watch the webisode. Then revisit your answer after you have watched it to see how close you were.

Quick-fire questions

Watch webisode three then answer these questions.


Open Google Docs to record your answers Link to Google Docs

Activities for everyone

Have a go at writing a treaty. It could be a treaty for your classroom, your kura, or your whanau at home. It could be between you and a friend, your whanau or for your class.

Theme: Mana Motuhake

1. Brainstorm with your classmates different words you think of when you think about the word ‘treaty’ e.g. agreement, guarantees, promises, partners.

Write down some examples of different kinds of agreements that you have every day with different people. Consider these questions:

  • How are these agreements captured?
  • Are these agreements written, spoken, or recorded in any way?
  • Who are these agreements between?
  • Who decides what promises are made in the agreement?
  • What is a treaty for?
  • What kinds of agreements are written as treaties?

Decide on the purpose of your treaty. Consider the following:

  • Who should the treaty be between?
  • What does the treaty need to capture?
  • Who should write it up?
  • In what language should it be written?

Once you have made these decisions, write a draft of your treaty. Then consider:

  • Who should review the draft?
  • How will you decide what changes need to be made to it?
  • Who will sign it?
  • Who should get a copy of it?
  • How will you make sure both or all parties to the treaty live up to what they have promised in the treaty?

Once you have agreed on the final draft, present your treaty:

  • by doing an oral presentation to your class
  • as a visual poster.

Here are some links to help you with your research:

Activities if your kura is in Ngati Porou or you are from Ngati Porou

1. Conduct a research project about St Mary’s Church in Tikitiki or another church in Ngati Porou.

Theme: Turangawaewae

Consider these questions:

  • When was the church built?
  • What is its history?
  • Who built it?
  • What is special about it?

2. St Mary’s Church features an amazing stained-glass window showing Lieutenant Henare Kohere and Captain Pekama Kaa kneeling in front of Jesus Christ. Both men were killed in the war. Use this image as inspiration to design your own stained-glass window image for either your class or home.

Theme: Turangawaewae

St Mary's Church stained glass window

The famous stained glass window at St Mary’s Church in Tikitiki.
Charles O. Cecil / Alamy Stock Photo.

Your window could be a memorial to:

  • the men from Ngati Porou who were killed during the wars
  • the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by Ngati Porou
  • the arrival of Christianity to Waiapu.

Consider the symbolism you want to use in your design and the story you want it to tell. Present your design to the class and give an oral presentation to explain the symbolism and imagery you have used in it.

Activities if your kura is outside of Ngati Porou or you are from another iwi

1. Imagine that you and your classmates are rangatira for your iwi in 1839. You have heard that the Crown is coming and wants to discuss a treaty with your iwi.

Theme: Mana Motuhake

Discuss with your classmates the reasons for and against signing a treaty with the Crown. Consider what life would have been like in New Zealand at the time. Consider these questions:

  • What do you think are the risks of signing a treaty with the Crown?
  • What do you think are the opportunities?
  • What would you want to see included in a treaty with the Crown?
  • Who do you think should sign it?

You could present your arguments as:

  • a written report
  • an oral presentation to your class
  • a role play with your classmates.

Your arguments should be persuasive and explain your reasoning as to why you think your iwi should or should not sign the treaty.

2. Review the Treaty of Waitangi. What (if anything) would you change in the Treaty? Why? Why not?

Theme: Mana Motuhake

Discuss your ideas with a small group of your classmates. Do you agree with each other about what you would change in the Treaty?

Here are some links to help you with your research:

For the kaiako

Links to Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

Tikanga a-Iwi: Te Ao Hurihuri, Taumata 4, (4.1) Ka tautohu i nga putake me nga otinga o nga tuahua kua waihanga i te oranga o te tangata.

Tikanga a-Iwi: Te Whakaritenga Papori me te Ahurea, Taumata 4, (4.1) Ka whakamarama i te whakaritenga a te tangata i a ia ano hei urupare ki te matataki, ki te morearea ranei.

Tikanga a-Iwi: Te Ao Hurihuri, Taumata 5, (5.2) Ka whakamarama i nga whakapono me nga mahi a nga tangata o mua kua waihanga i te porihanga o Aotearoa. 

Introducing the topic

Check out these links to information and resources about Ngati Porou and Christianity:


  • What do akonga already know about religion in Aotearoa?
  • What do they know about the influence of the Anglican faith on Ngati Porou and their Treaty settlement story?


promise, guarantee, pledge (taurangi, taunaha)

faithful, loyal (horopu, tomau)

covenant, permanent agreement, long-term treaty (whakaritenga, whakatatu)

conversion (huringa, whakapakepake)

 to make firm, confirm, establish (whakamana)

ship (pora, pahi)

confiscate, confiscation (muru, murunga)


Ngati Porou have chosen not to use macrons in this resource.

© Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou 2020.