WAITANGI TREATY GROUNDS
While in Paihia and the Bay of Islands region, be sure to set aside a few hours to tour the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Not only is it an extremely beautiful place, it is the birthplace of New Zealand as a nation.
Upon first entering the treaty grounds, you walk for a while on trails and raised catwalks through beautiful temperate rainforest. The unfolding fern frond in the last picture inspired the Maori to carve similar figures called Koru which represent the unfolding of life.

This is the world's largest war canoe (waka). At approximately 35 meters (115 feet) long, it is capable of holding 80 paddlers and another 55 passengers. It was built in 1940 for a re-enactment of the original treaty ceremony. The incredibly ornate carving of the bow and stern sections took years to complete. The stump of the huge kauri tree that the waka was carved from has been preserved here. This waka is still used for special celebrations and tracks were installed to more easily get it down to the water.

The large open parklands of the treaty grounds are beautiful. The flagstaff, made to look like a ship's mast, marks the location where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.

The Whare Runanga (meeting house) was opened in 1940 for the centennial of the original treaty. The intricate carvings and reed wall panels are representative of major tribal art styles
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