Professional historians will give evidence for the first time this week in the Waitangi Tribunal inquiry into Ngapuhi sovereignty claims.
The Tribunal has held two week-long hearings at Waitangi this winter, as it investigates evidence from northern hapu about the signing of the Treaty and the earlier Declaration of Independence.
Ngapuhi say they declared New Zealand a sovereign nation under the authority of Maori in 1835 and that the Maori language Treaty they signed in 1840 did not cede that sovereignty to Britain.
The Tribunal, sitting in Panguru for a third week of hearings, has commissioned a report from lawyer and historian Samuel Carpenter and will hear evidence from Dr Anne Salmond on Friday.
It has asked them to address issues including the role of the missionaries in the founding documents and how Maori understood them.