Exciting new exhibition for historic Treaty House
10 August 2017
The Treaty House at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds will be closed from 21st August till the end of October. During this time a new exhibition will be installed by Workshop e, New Zealand’s leading exhibition design company and creators of Ko Waitangi Tēnei This is Waitangi, the permanent exhibition in multiple award winning Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi.
The new exhibition will feature several themed rooms with the entrance providing a welcome area, much as it did in 1834 when it was the first British Residency in New Zealand and it doubled as James Busby’s office. The space will be an introduction to the personality of the house as a family home, diplomatic centre, farmhouse and historic house, and an exploration of who lived and visited there.
Greg McManus, CEO of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds says the upgrade of the Treaty House is the next stage of an ongoing project to develop a world class visitor experience at the Treaty Grounds. “The Treaty House, or Busby House as it is sometimes known, was the site of some of the most important events in our nation’s history. The first flag for the nation was chosen there in 1834; the 1835 Declaration of Independence was drafted by Busby and presented to the northern chiefs there; and of course the Treaty of Waitangi was given its finishing touches there before being read to the chiefs on 5th February 1840. It is central to our story as a nation and deserves to be looked after and interpreted well.”
Two rooms are dedicated to the Busby family story and what life must have been like for James, Agnes and their four children. Visitors will be encouraged to enter the rooms and explore the spaces and stories they tell.
The parlour where the finishing touches were made to the Treaty of Waitangi will explore Busby’s influence on the English version and his final touches to Williams’ Māori version. A modern audio visual experience will encourage visitors to think about the momentous events that took place in the room and to
take in the view outside to visualise the scene leading up to the meeting with the Chiefs on 5th February 1840, and the signing of the Treaty the following day.
Throughout the exhibition, displays will be object rich, with large images and digital media presented in a multi-layered approach that caters to all audiences.
During the installation The Waitangi Treaty Grounds will maintain normal opening hours (daily, 9am to 5pm), and all other buildings will be open to the public.