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.