This mahogany table belonged to John Hobbs, founder of the mission station at Mangungu that overlooks the Hokianga Harbour. It is basic in design – rectangular with four turned legs and tapered feet.
Yet its simple form belies its witness to a founding moment in New Zealand history. From Waitangi on 6 February until September 1840, the Treaty made its slow progress around the country, in several copies. By 12 February it had reached Mangungu with Governor William Hobson, where more people put their names to the document than at any other site around the country – around 70 or so signatories, although this figure is in dispute.
Between 2000 to 3000 Maori attended the meeting at Mangungu. According to a biography of Hobson he experienced real opposition to the Treaty at the meeting, but through an interpreter warned that Maori would lose their lands to dishonest Europeans, and promised Crown protection.
It is believed that the signatories used this table to sign on, and it is still on display at the mission house.