Political map of Australia, New Zealand & the Southwest Pacific 6 February 1840 (Treaty of Waitangi): In the late 1830s European land purchases in New Zealand increased dramatically, encouraging thousands of settlers to make plans to migrate there (New Zealand Company). Realizing that many of the purchases were questionable and would inevitably cause conflict with the indigenous and well-armed Māori (Māori people), the British government decided to intervene. In February 1840 they signed the Treaty of Waitangi with northern Māori chiefs to gain sovereignty over the country and a monopoly on land purchasing. Additional signings were made with chiefs throughout New Zealand later that year.