Waitangi - A wonderful history

A land of unspoilt natural beauty with towns and cities framed by majestic mountains and tranquil lakes, New Zealand also has a wonderful rich history.

Nowhere holds the history of the Land of the Long White Cloud better than the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on the Bay of Islands.

Known as ‘The Birthplace of a Nation’, this is where New Zealand’s founding document was signed between the British Crown and around 540 Maori chiefs in 1840. Today, it’s an important part of the nation’s identity, as well as a major attraction for visitors.

One of the main sights at Waitangi is the carved Maori Meeting House. It stands facing the Treaty House as a symbol of the agreement between Maori and the British Crown. Carving began in 1934 and it was officially opened in 1940, on the centenary of the treaty. This stunning display of Maori artwork is a perfect snapshot into the historic culture of New Zealand.

Similarly, the Ceremonial War Canoe, believed to be the world’s largest at 35 metres long, is a fascinating insight into Maori life. Requiring 76 paddlers to handle it safely on the water, it weighs 6 tonnes when dry and 12 tonnes when saturated. After three years’ construction it was launched in 1940 before it was put aside for 34 years. It was then taken out for the Queen’s visit in 1974. At this time she designated it ‘Her Majesty’s Ship’, making the canoe part of the Royal Navy.

After you have delved into the history of New Zealand at Waitangi, stop and take some time to appreciate the amazing natural beauty of the Bay of Islands as a whole.

Truly awe-inspiring, the bay is a three-hour drive north of Auckland, and encompasses 144 islands. There are numerous sightseeing options that the Bay of Islands offers and with APT, you will experience many of them. You’ll get a chance to explore the islands on a dolphin-watching cruise to Cape Brett and the famous Hole in the Rock, where dolphins and schools of fish are often seen. You also have the option of taking a mini-tour or sightseeing tour of the charming towns of Kerikeri and Russell.

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