Article Four of the TOW

Hobson gave an assurance to Pompallier "that I shall protect all creeds alike".

This was written down on a piece of paper and passed to Pompallier.

At no stage was it incorporated in any treaty text and any description of it as a "fourth article of the treaty" is no more than somebody's imagination.

However, curiously and unlike the actual ToW which, as we know, has been twisted beyond recognition, religious tolerance has, with very few exceptions, been generally observed in NZ - for which we can surely be thankful.

See Colenso's report >



The suggestion that there is a "fourth article" of the Treaty, which promotes religious freedom, emerged in the 1990s, and still clings tenaciously to some people's views about the agreement.

The "fourth article" is easily debunked, however. Neither the Maori nor English text of the treaty contains this article. also, there is no evidence from 1840 that anyone even considered the possibility of such an article existing. The exponents of the "fourth article" cite conversations held between Hobson and others at Waitangi as somehow constituting binding parts of the Treaty, But this is based on false reasoning and an impoverished understanding of international law.

Dr Paul Moon is professor of history at AUT University, and the author of several books on New Zealand history.