From Treaty to Mistrust to Treaty


The Treaty of Waitangi in Tauranga Te Tiriti o Waitangi Ki Tauranga Moana by Debbie McCauley, Maori translation by Tamati Waaka, illustrated by Whare Joseph Thompson. Mauao Publishing, 2018.  Reviewed by writer and photographer Lee Switzer.

There are a number of Bay of Plenty history books – from early Maori occupation to subsequent wars between various Maori iwi, and Maori vs. Maori and colonial forces. Dates of conflict, compassion and cooperation can be found throughout newspapers, letters to and from individuals and monographs.

However, Debbie Macaulay’s’ book is the only publication to thoroughly, yet concisely present facts with many dates covering the development of Maori and Pakeha relations. (Full disclosure: I worked with Debbie for about 8 years in the New Zealand room, Tauranga City Library.)Debbie McCauley stands next to a carving by James (Hemi) Tapiata, Te Waharoa o Te Mana Matauranga (The Gateway to the Power of Knowledge)

She has compiled a sequential list of events from early New Zealand history ‘c925 Kupe: Explorer … chased the giant wheke (octopus) right across the Pacific Ocean…’ and moves on to BOP/Tauranga in the 1800s, 1900’s and finally Tauranga treaty settlements in the 2000s. The reader can follow a progression of exploration, tears, fears and years of Maori/Pakeha relations,Sample pages from the book.

The Tauranga Treaty of Waitangi Maori signatories, their signatures, and short bio of each ariki shows a strong depth of research. The author consultated kamatua and others who provided insight and suggestions for completing the biographies. Often the signature was a replication of the leaders’moko.

The book is far more than a list of dates. It provides textual content, photographs and illustrations to a variety of historical developments. For example Rev A.N. Browns’ journal notes and Article Three of the Treaty of Waitangi Broken. Murders and cannibalism discussed; the Otamataha Pa massacre – 1828 and carnage at Ongare Pa – 1842 (Katikati). A ‘peace stone’ from Maunganui used at Otumoetai Pa in 1845 for gathering Maori warring chiefs hoping to prevent further intertribal violence is described.

The stone was placed beneath Tapu Titoki tree. (Not mentioned in the book, but the tree was trimmed by a 1900s land owner because it was getting in the way of, I think, his chimney.) The foundation of a house remains on the property. Otumoetai Pa Historic Reserve is on Levers Road. The stone is currently resting in a secure Tauranga City Council Heritage Collection building.Maori taonga in the New Zealand Room, Tauranga City Library. Other carvings and stories woven in tukutuku panels are in the library.

This well researched, bilingual, illustrated book is a forward leap in understanding, appreciation of local history. It covers events that often have been overlooked, under reported or surreptitiously ignored. A glossary and index complete the work of a fine Librarian. Does this make Debbie a Historian as well?

Award winning Debbie McCauley’s other books are Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill: A Story from the Rena Disaster, Taratoa and the Code of Conduct: A Story from the Battle of Gate Pā and currently at the press –: Ko Mauao te Maunga: Legend of Mauao expected date of release – June.

Debbie McCauley can be found at contact details on the page.Successful self publisher. Available for talks, presentations about her books, her publishing company and advice on self publishing. Publications


Free event: Free event. Book Launch.

Photographs and article by Lee Switzer can be found at




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