Before returning to the Bay of Islands, I stopped at Waitangi’s Treaty House. The walls were lined with majestic portraits of Maori chiefs who signed the treaty with their tattooed faces visible in the dim light. A video boomed from the next room, a marked reminder of the significance of the place.
Along the fern lined path, I spied two giant canoes constructed to commemorate the event. Standing nearby, was the giant stump of a kauri tree, all that remained of the tree used to build the canoes. A beautiful Maori meetinghouse stood off to the side where carved figures represented the chiefs.
With all these structures, I wondered where had the famous Treaty of Waitangi actually been signed? The Maori meetinghouse and canoes were constructed long after the event. Only the European house stood at the time. But would the narrow-minded Europeans back then allow Maori chiefs to enter their house? They erected a tent on the lawn outside the house and the chiefs signed the treaty in the tent!