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The Treaty of Waitangi in Tauranga: Te Tiriti o Waitangi ki Tauranga Moana by Debbie McCauley

The Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in the Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840. Over the following months a further eight Treaty sheets were signed in various locations around Aotearoa. One of those places was Tauranga.

This bilingual children’s nonfiction narrative picture book tells the story of the Treaty’s journey in Tauranga.

The document arrived in Tauranga after many years of violence and bloodshed that decimated the local population. In fact, just days before the arrival of the Treaty to Tauranga, a local chief was tricked into attending peace talks, where he was murdered.

Author Debbie McCauley has once again produced a fantastic book that will be a taonga (treasure) to readers.

Her dedication to research is evident, and the book functions on many different levels. It is a picture book, a simple story, a history textbook, an archive document and a biography.

It is richly illustrated with photographs, sketches, maps, and archive documents which all relate to the people written about.

As with her previous books (Eliza and the White Camellia, Ko Mauao te Maunga) the book is bilingual. Just like Eliza and the White Camellia, The Treaty of Waitangi in Tauranga features a double page spread. The right hand column features a simplified bilingual story, aimed at younger readers. The left hand side of the book is a history lesson, rich in further reading, timelines, maps and explanations.

The full text of the Treaty is featured in both Māori and modern English towards the end of the book, as is a brief biography of every Tauranga treaty signatory. These pages make the book an absolute taonga for the descendants of those that signed the Treaty in Tauranga. Each signatory’s mark is documented, as well as their iwi and hapū, as well as the brief biography. McCauley has also done the same for the British witnesses to the signings – James Stack and Henry Taylor.

A Tauranga Moana timeline is included that covers a huge range of events for the local area – from the arrival of the Ararauta waka in Tauranga, through the musket wars, New Zealand wars, and into the Treaty of Waitangi settlements of 2017.

A glossary and extensive index is also included within the picture book, making it invaluable for research use.

McCauley has also included ideas to help extend the reader, including researching their own whakapapa to making a quill.

Mauao Publishing has developed a real reputation for these fascinating in-depth stories of our history. Once again, The Treaty of Waitangi in Tauranga holds up this reputation. It is an absolute treasure that demands numerous readings. McCauley sets the standard high for any region hoping to tell their own story.

While aimed at telling the story of Tauranga specifically, anyone with an interest in the history of Aotearoa will cherish this book.

Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

Mauao Publishing, RRP $39.95


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