In May 2017 the exhibition He Tohu opened at the National Library in Wellington. This celebrates three founding documents in New Zealand’s history – He Whakaputanga: The Declaration of Independence (1835), the Treaty of Waitangi: Te Tiriti o Waitangi (1840) and the Women’s Suffrage Petition (1893). The originals of these documents are on display at the National Library, in a wonderful exhibition that tells the history of the times and the story of the documents themselves.
Three slim paperbacks showcase each of the documents, published by BWB in conjunction with the National Library and Archives New Zealand. Each book is focused on the document itself, and feature a facsimile of the document (or part of it). The documents are framed by an introduction from leading scholars (Claudia Orange, Vincent O’Malley and Barbara Brookes), and a Māori perspective on the document in te reo. Short biographies of many signatories are included – showing the wide range of people who signed. The books are printed in full colour so that the richness of these significant, old documents is shown.
About the author
Claudia Orange is the Practice Leader Research at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, having previously headed the museum’s History and Pacific Cultures section.
She was General Editor of the multi-volume, award-winning Dictionary of New Zealand Biography from 1990 to 2003. She was also Acting Chief Historian from 1997 to 2000 in the History Group of the Department of Internal Affairs, and then 2002–2003 was Senior Historian in Te Ara, the online Encyclopedia of New Zealand in the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
She has produced several works on the Treaty of Waitangi – from the award-winning Treaty of Waitangi (1987) to An Illustrated History of the Treaty of Waitangi (2004). She has written widely on early New Zealand history and on twentieth century race relations, and was foundation chair of the National Oral History Association of New Zealand (NOHANZ).
Dr Claudia Orange was appointed the OBE in 1993, received the University of Auckland’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997, and was awarded the honour of Distinguished Companion of the Order of New Zealand in 2009.
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