Te Kawenata o Waitangi (the Covenant of Waitangi)
The Treaty of Waitangi
signed 6 Feb 1840
“Te Kawenata o Waitangi is the name Maori gave to the Treaty of Waitangi. It means, the ‘Covenant of Waitangi’, and reflects the influence of the gospel on New Zealand history. The signing of the Treaty was not simply a contract but a covenant, in the Biblical sense of the word.” (Mark Grace, The Gospel and the Treaty of Waitangi, 2014)
Waitangi Day is a great opportunity to reflect on our history as a nation, but also the part that Christians played in this historic event. Here are some ideas you might like to use in your Sunday School or children’s programme or together with all ages in your church services. Click on the links below to view and download free resources. We are keen to add to this collection, so if you have an idea or activity we would love you to share it with us. Email: email@example.com
A few main points:
Click here for a brief overview of the Treaty.
Good background reading:
This is a great article about the Treaty as written in covenantal language:
Bible Society of New Zealand Video:
This 8 minute video tells the story of the arrival of the gospel in Aotearoa NZ. It is a great resource to share with your church family.
Ngā Tīmatanga - the early story of the Bible in New Zealand
Prayers woven into the fabric of our nation:
Thanks to Glenis at Blockhouse Bay for this idea.
You will need a wooden frame with long strips of black paper or card sellotaped vertically. Use strips of red and white paper to weave horizontally through these longer strips of black paper. You can choose any prayer idea to write or draw on these strips. Alternatively the children can choose verses to write on them. Weave these strips into your loom and display it somewhere in your church foyer.
An All-Age idea is to set the loom up in the church foyer with a container of pens and a container of paper strips. Display instructions with it, inviting people to stop and write a prayer for our nation. As people enter or exit the church building they can write or draw a prayer and add it to the loom.
A covenant of peace:
The good news of Jesus came to Aotearoa to bring peace. The Treaty of Waitangi was called Te Kawenata o Waitangi, the Covenant of Waitangi. A covenant in the Bible is an agreement between God and people. Talk about what a covenant of peace means, both with God and with each other.
Choose some verses that talk about peace and unity (for example: Luke 6:27, Luke 6:31, Luke 6:37, Luke 10:27b). Display these on large sheets of paper around the church. Underneath each verse have an ice cream container of felt tip pens. Invite the congregation to choose one verse to sign their name to, as a way of saying that they are committed to living a life of peace in their families, church, school, workplace and community. They may want to add a prayer of their own to the sheet.
*Extra: Stain the large sheets of paper with cold coffee and tear the edges to make it look like old parchment.
Prayers for Peace:
Choose some verses that talk about peace and unity (for example: Luke 6:27, Luke 6:31, Luke 6:37, Luke 10:27b). Use these verses as the basis for a prayer time. You could have the person at the front read out the verses one by one, pausing in between to allow people to pray for peace and unity in Aotearoa New Zealand. You might like to organise people to prepare a prayer before hand, or allow anyone to pray as a response. If you organise the prayers before hand make sure you include all ages.
Click here to download a PDF or a powerpoint of some of the key verses that are relevant for Waitangi Day services.
In schools we often talk about prior-knowledge. What do the children already know? It is important to find out what they already know before launching into a topic. All children in New Zealand will learn something about the Treaty of Waitangi as part of their schooling. What they may not know is the involvement of the missionaries in history. They may not know about Māori and Pakeha Christians who worked for peace, and shared God’s message of love.
Display a large sheet of brown paper at the front (or a large whiteboard). Ask the
children to tell you everything they know about Waitangi Day. When you have a good list, ask: There were people living in Aotearoa at the time who loved God. Do you know what they had to do with the signing of the Treaty?
Read the story of Patuone (book 4 Of the Chronicles of Paki series). Patuone was known as a peace maker. He was one of the chiefs who signed the Treaty of Waitangi. (There is also a free curriculum to support these books, available from this blog. Click here to check it out). You can purchase this book from the Scripture Union website: www.sunz.org.nz
Here's an idea for your morning tea after church, or for a snack during your children's programme. You can always leave off the chocolate for a healthier option. They are surprisingly delicious. You can also use bananas!
- Peel kiwifruit and cut it into thick slices.
- Push a popsicle stick into one end of the kiwifruit slice.
- Freeze overnight.
- Dip in dark chocolate mixed with a little coconut oil (alternatively use quick setting chocolate ice cream dip)
- Eat straight from the freezer.
On a map:
This might seem like an obvious activity, but it’s easy to overlook.
Display a large New Zealand map somewhere (or have one on a PowerPoint). Point out where Waitangi is.
This is a lovely karakia (prayer) to finish your service or programme with. You might like to read it first, then ask everyone to stand and read it together as a sign of unity:
Kia tau ki a tātou katoa
Te atawhai o tō tātou Ariki, a Ihu Karaiti
Me te aroha o te Atua
Me te whiwhingatahitanga ki te wairua tapu
May the grace, love and support of Christ Jesus;
the love of God;
and unity through the Holy Spirit
be with us all.
Free Sunday Programme Resource:
Here's what Anna did with her children at church for Waitangi 2020. This resource includes her lesson outline, a crossword and a colouring page. Click here to download.
Read the Treaty online: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/treaty/read-the-treaty/english-text
Free booklets to download: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/treaty/treaty-faqs—this website also provides free booklets to download.
Kids site: http://my.christchurchcitylibraries.com/kids-treaty-zone-the-treaty/
The Treaty in One Minute—a video. http://www.waitangi.org.nz/explore-the-treaty#/treatyvideo/eng
The gospel and the treaty: http://www.baptist.org.nz/assembly/bicentenary_resources/
DVD: Te Rongopai - 200 years of the gospel in New Zealand. This DVD is focused on the arrival of the gospel to Aotearoa, and is not specifically about the Treaty. It is also aimed at adults. However, sections of it will be interesting for children. A great resource! http://nzchristiannetwork.org.nz/te-rongopai-dvd/