5 Reasons to Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds© NZPocketGuide.com
5 Reasons to Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds

The Waitangi Treaty Grounds: Visitor Tips & 5 Reasons to Visit 🏛️ [2023]

© NZPocketGuide.com

What You Need to Know Before You Go to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds

One of New Zealand’s most historic locations, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is a must-visit when travelling to the Bay of Islands. It’s so significant that there is even an official public holiday called Waitangi Day. Not only is Waitangi, a 5-minute drive from Paihia, a stunning coastal location, but it is rich in history. Visit the museum, see a Maori cultural performance, do a bushwalk and visit the five main sights of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds which we’ve listed below.

You’ll instantly get a feel for what New Zealand is all about as you walk through some native bush across boardwalks to see Maori artefacts and British influence rolled into one. This exactly represents the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi: a founding agreement between the Maori and British. It has a fascinating history mixed in controversy, which you can learn the basics about in our New Zealand History Guide.

Tips for Visiting the Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Before you visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, here are a few common questions answered, as well as a few extra tips for visiting.

Are the Waitangi Treaty Grounds Free?

The grounds are free to children aged under 18 years old. Visitors aged 18 years old and over are required to pay an admission fee of NZ$30 for New Zealand residents and NZ$60 for international visitors.

How Do You Get a Waitangi Treaty Grounds Discount?

If you have a New Zealand driver’s license, use it to for a discounted entry price into the Waitangi Treaty Grounds (i.e. the New Zealand resident discount mentioned above). Otherwise, tickets are often listed at a discounted price on websites such as Klook, Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday.

Where is the Location of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds?

The address is Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are located in the Bay of Islands of the North Island, approximately 2.4km (1.5 miles) from Paihia town centre.

How Long Do You Need for the Waitangi Treaty Grounds?

With so many experiences at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, we recommend allowing two to three hours for your visit.

5 Reasons to Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds

1. Te Whare RĹ«nanga – The Carved Meeting House

To symbolise the partnership between the British Crown and the Maori, a stunning traditional Maori meeting house was built facing the Treaty House (see below). The meeting house is impressive and projects all the power of the Maori culture through carefully carved wood. Spend time looking through all the small details carved in its walls and pillars. It is also the location of scheduled Maori performances throughout each day.

5 Reasons to Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds© David Kirkland - Northland Inc

2. The Treaty House

Also known as “the residency”, the treaty house was the base of the British government of New Zealand from 1833 to 1840. James Busby represented the crown from there and conducted his business from his parlour. Today you can visit the accurate refitting of the 1800s house and learn more about the ins and outs of the British colonisation.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

3. The Flagstaff

To mark the exact emplacement where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, a huge flagstaff has been erected. The flagstaff flies four different flags, one being the United Tribes of New Zealand’s flag, the second being the British Union flag, then the New Zealand Ensign flag, and lastly the New Zealand flag flies on top.

Sheila Thomson on Wikipedia© Sheila Thomson on Wikipedia

4. Ceremonial Waka – The War Canoes

The world’s largest Maori ceremonial war canoe is displayed in the waka house. Impressive in numbers (6 tons dry and 76 paddlers minimum), the fully carved canoe is launched once a year on 6-February to celebrate Waitangi Day. An event not to be missed if you are in the area.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Te KĹŤngahu Museum of Waitangi

One place to basically learn all about one of New Zealand’s most defining moments in history is at The Museum of Waitangi. This modern museum is full of fascinating Maori and European artefacts, art and some short movies to watch a re-enactment of the Treaty of Waitangi signing.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

More About the Bay of Islands

While you are exploring the Bay of Islands, check out the following guides to discover more amazing experiences:


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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