House of many stories
On this date in 1833, James Busby, first British Resident, came ashore in Paihia from HMS Imogene. About 600 Māori greeted him with a ceremonial haka and a mix of Māori and Europeans assembled at St Paul’s Anglican Church. The Rev. Henry Williams asked that the Great Seal on the Royal Letter be broken and the contents read, with the Māori translation given by the Rev. William Williams.
Busby was charged “to reside among you and to afford better protection both to New Zealanders and to British subjects.” A plaque outside St Paul’s Church in Paihia, Bay of Islands, commemorates Busby’s momentous arrival, precursor to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi seven years later.
Busby’s arrival was in response to the 1831 petition sent to King William IV by 13 northern chiefs. They sought the King’s protection against the misconduct of British subjects in the Bay of Islands, as well as against the French, who had recently sent a naval vessel to New Zealand.
During our education programmes, we often visit the Treaty House, home of James and Agnes Busby and their family. This house is closely linked with the founding of our nation Aotearoa New Zealand. That process is brought to life for students as they explore the rooms and picture the significant people who visited and the significant events that happened in the house and its surroundings.
17.5.2021 I. Rider