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NZ's founding documents find permanent home

Newshub logoNewshub 19/05/2017 Ben Irwin
NZ's founding documents find permanent home © Ben Irwin NZ's founding documents find permanent home

After a long history of neglect, three of New Zealand's most important historical documents now have a permanent, and public, resting place.

The 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, 1835 Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand, and the 1893 Women's Suffrage Petition have gone on display in a new exhibition at the National Library in Wellington.

Both The Crown and iwi leaders hope the He Tohu exhibition will allow for greater understanding of the country's history.

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy among the many dignitaries present at the official opening, and says the articles are "Taonga that deserve our greatest respect".

Waikato-Tainui Te Arataura chairman Rahui Papa agrees.

"In other countries they song and verse about the constitutions and things like that. Well, these are our constitutions", Mr Papa says.

A purpose-built room will house the three documents.

The seven million dollar He Tohu project has been three years in the making. The document had been kept at the National Archives for decades but last month they were moved to their new home under the cover of darkness.

Ngapuhi Leader Raniera Sonny Tau hopes it will allow for a deeper connection with New Zealand history.

"Whenever the Treaty of Waitangi is mentioned people go into an aeroplane spin.. and I think it's about time we stopped all that and brought this thing to light."

But not too much light - flash photography is strictly prohibited.

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