On Christmas Day 1814. Three lay missionaries, William Hall, Thomas Kendall and John King, helped him set up the first mission in New Zealand, at Rangihoua. The local chief, Ruatara, who had met Marsden on a ship returning to Australia from England, interpreted the sermon for Māori.
Growing lawlessness among Europeans in New Zealand and fears of a French annexation of the country led 13 northern chiefs to ask King William IV for his protection. Missionary William Yate helped the chiefs draft the letter to the King. The Crown acknowledged the petition and promised protection.
The growing number of British settlers and its own trade interest, the British government appointed James Busby as its official British Resident. He arrived in May 1833 and built a house on land he bought at Waitangi.
The Declaration of Independence New Zealand was drawn up by British Resident James Busby without authorisation from his superiors. It asserted the independence of New Zealand, with all sovereign power and authority resting with the hereditary chiefs and tribes. By 1839 the declaration had been signed by 52 Māori chiefs.
In December the British government decided in to intervene in New Zealand to ensure that colonisation was regulated and that land transactions that defrauded Māori were stopped. The government had tried to avoid assuming responsibility. Instead it had attempted to influence the interaction of Māori and British settlers through the missionaries and by sending British Resident James Busby to work with chiefs.
The British government appointed William Hobson as consul to New Zealand in 1839. Hobson was instructed to obtain sovereignty over all or part of New Zealand with the consent of a sufficient number of chiefs.
Governor Gipps prohibited further private land purchases from Māori, and no existing claims were to be recognised until they had been investigated by the authorities. William Hobson repeated the proclamation at the Bay of Islands on 30 January.
The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February 1840. The previous day a draft of the Treaty in English and Māori was discussed before about 540 Māori and 200 Pākehā. Many Māori were suspicious of what was intended, but Tāmati Wāka Nene among others helped sway the chiefs towards acceptance. The meeting reassembled on 6 February; the text was read again, and signing commenced. About 40 chiefs signed on the first day; by September 1840 another 540 chiefs around the country had signed. Almost all of the chiefs signed copies of the Māori text of the Treaty.