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Origin of the Tangata Tiriti – Treaty People book

The design of the Tangata Tiriti – Treaty People book was overseen by migrant community leaders, experienced Treaty educators, English language tutors and Māori elders.

The initiative came from calls made by Dr Nagalingam Rasalingam of the Refugee Council of New Zealand and Shakti Migrant Services at Treaty Conference 2000: Tauiwi communities affirm the Treaty of Waitangi to provide Treaty education in plain English for new migrants.

The New Zealand Federation of Ethnic Councils, ESOL Home Tutors (now English Language Partners), Unitec, Waitakere Multicultural Society and Auckland Regional Migrant Services were involved in trials of the learning activities.

Aims of the Tangata Tiriti – Treaty People project

  • To provide simple, accurate information about the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • To introduce new migrants to Aotearoa/New Zealand to the contemporary debate around Treaty issues in order to help them reflect on their place in this debate.
  • To address the need for new and ‘older’ settlers to be educated on the Treaty of Waitangi.

Sponsors of the project

The kaiwhakarite of the Human Rights Commission in the early 2000s, Bobby Newson,  convened the development meetings, and gave the book its title. Māori Human Rights commissioner, Meremere Penfold, provided the foreword in the book.

Tangata Tiriti – Treaty People became a founding project in the Human Rights Diversity Action Programme.

Producing Tangata Tiriti – Treaty People


Treaty Education for Migrants Steering Group was formed with Dr Rasalingam, Pākehā Treaty educators Marisa Maclachlan and Ingrid Huygens, and Race Relations coordinator Rohan Jaduram. Together with Sarah de Souza, this group are named as the authors of the resource.


The resource was published in 2006 by Auckland Workers Educational Association (AWEA). It was reprinted in 2009.


The resource was launched at Ōrākei Marae in November 2006 by Te Puna Tumahai and his whānau (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei) who had presided at  Treaty Conference 2000. The resource was blessed by Haare Williams (Ngāi Tūhoe, Te Āitanga-a-Māhaki). Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Rosslyn Noonan, spoke in support of the resource.


Tangata Tiriti-Treaty People is distributed by Auckland Regional Migrant Services. It is available as a book and in pdf form on the accompanying CD.


Human Rights Commission and Auckland Workers Education Association funded the resource development. JR McKenzie Trust, Human Rights Commission and Settlement Support New Zealand funded printing. Lottery Community Grants partially funded a facilitator training.

Ongoing project

We are a now a long-term project distributing the Tangata Tiriti – Treaty People resource, running Treaty education workshops, and training Treaty facilitators.

Ongoing income

We are a not-for-profit project. Sales of the resource book fund facilitator trainings and updates of the resource. Workshops are funded by the client or community host organisation, or their funders. Administration is contributed voluntarily by project members.

We welcome joint ventures with organisations keen to bring Treaty education and facilitator training to their members.