Proclamation of sovereignty, 1840. Hobson proclaimed sovereignty over all of New Zealand on 21 May, while copies of the Treaty were still circulating. New Zealand was a dependency of New South Wales until November 1840, when it became a separate colony. National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington
(Ref: F81956 1/20)
Jumping the gun?
While the Treaty was still making the rounds of the country, the newly arrived English settlers at Port Nicholson – today Wellington – started setting up their own, unauthorised government.
William Hobson, the only person with the right to set up a British colony in New Zealand, was alarmed. As Lieutenant Governor, he quickly proclaimed British sovereignty over the whole country in May.
That month, he sent Police Magistrate Willoughby Shortland to the Port Nicholson settlement to read the proclamation, and demand allegiance to the Crown.