May 15, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

What a way to celebrate, Waitangi Day!

2 min read

Waitangi Day is a mix of family and fun, music and entertainment, history and forgetfulness, Maori and Pakeha. As a colonial instrument, the Treaty of Waitangi set the foundations for the creation of a unified country way back in 1840. Today, it is a day that seems years in the making, takes months to prepare and comes down to one day.

Waitangi Day is a significant occasion that draws all New Zealanders together. Despite what some talkback commentators might lament, we noticed that Waitangi Day has built from year to year. There have been positive comments from Waitangi itself, from the Far North, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua (Kia ora Whakanuia!), Whanganui, Taranaki, Wellington, down in Picton (nga mihi Waikawa marae and Brayshaw Park), Nelson (kia ora Whakatu marae) and in Otakou.

Then there came word from our whanau in Australia that celebrations were had across the country, with Kiwis coming together to play sport, listen to music, catch up with whanau and friends and to enjoy one of those days that is special for us.

A choice video has been posted from whanau in London with the haka and some cool pics thrown into the mix and there have been lots of positive comments on Facebook around Waitangi Day events. We would like to mihi to all of the organisers around the country and around the World – thanks for making the effort on all our behalf!!

In the midst of the celebrations, korero reminded us that promises made in the Treaty were not kept and that the entire kaupapa itself was to be challenged today as it was on the day of its signing.

It is a day of local significance as each hapu recognises where it fits into the debate around constitutional arrangements and of national relevance in our search for larger unity.

A lot of people still dont understand Waitangi Day nor the Treaty of Waitangi.

The history is not well taught, the overlapping interests never fully disclosed and the sensitivities around what happened between nga hapu Maori and the waves of settlers over the ensuing years still sits uncomfortably under the carpet. What we have come to appreciate is that while media outlets look for the controversial, communities are more interested in coming together, sharing in food, talk and music and making sure that all our children feel comfortable here at home today and into the future.

We will be posting comments from Waitangi Day events from throughout the country and the World and would love to hear how you remembered and/or celebrated Waitangi Day.

Ki roto i te kotahitanga!

Aroha nui from

3 thoughts on “What a way to celebrate, Waitangi Day!

  1. I do not often comment upon television programmes. There are so many nowadays of ephemeral quality, but so few of any merit.

    Last Sunday night’s TV docu-drama called "Treaty of Waitangi, What Really Happened", however, served both to please and to annoy.

    It was good that notice was taken of such an important subject on Waitangi Day. It was pleasing a real effort had been made to picture the signing of what proved to be our nation’s founding document.

    It was commendable that a great deal of trouble had been taken to find quality actors and to make the story interesting.

    However the programme would have been even better if slightly more trouble had been taken with religious matters.

    To start with, the wearing of clerical collars and pectoral crosses would have been unknown in 1840. Certainly, it is most unlikely that any Methodist ministers would have been seen wearing them (collars and crosses in those days were regarded as somehow ‘Roman’, and little sympathy existed, as the programme indicated, between Rome and Methodism).

    Then there was the question of the great pioneer missionary and friend of the Maori people, Archdeacon Henry Williams. Never once in the show was he addressed with his title (perhaps the producers of the show were unaware of what an ‘archdeacon’ is).

    In fact, apart from his obvious competence and acquaintance with tikanga Maori, Williams was treated grubbily in the show. To show they knew something about him, the script writers seemingly felt obliged to draw attention to his 11 children (the number may seem high to us, but it was quite normal in those days).

    And then there was the matter of the land Williams had purchased (this issue was raised much later, but would certainly have not been an issue at the Treaty signing in 1840).

    Something else annoyed me just a little. I am not a prude, but I think the television channel could somehow have been a little more careful with the advertising it thrust upon us.

    Many people regard the Treaty of Waitangi as a sacred document, and I could not imagine any other country in the world allowing a programme of its founding document to be several times interrupted by an advertisement for a sexual lubricant.

    Reg Nicholson

  2. GISBORNE gathered “good vibes” for Waitangi Day celebrations this year.

    Whanau fun and local history summed up yesterday’s local events with the annual Waitangi Day festival at Te Poho O Rawiri Marae and educational bus tours of local sites.

    The festival was hosted by Kaiti residents’ group KaPai Kaiti, who also provided free bus tours for their community as did fellow resident’s group E Tu Elgin.

    KaPai Kaiti’s Manu Caddie said the festival had a “good vibe” even though numbers were down from last year’s event.

    “It was extremely hot, which might have kept a few people away,” he said.

    “Having a lot of people involved with Te Matatini preparations probably impacted on the attendance as well.

    “But there was a really diverse participation from those who did attend. Maori and Non-Maori and we had quite a few tourists.”

    There was backyard bliss in the marae back carpark with a water slide and games to keep children cool.

    Speakers, entertainment, kai, information stalls and the great Waitangi Day quiz were among the features at the festival.

    “The tours were a real hit and we’re really grateful to Te Unga Mai Trust for delivering the tours,” Mr Caddie said.

    The Waitangi Day theme continued this morning with a group of New Zealand and Tino Rangatiratanga flags found tied to a pole outside the Gisborne District Council. It is unknown who put the flags up but they seemed to catch the attention of passersby and gave light to the recent issue raised by the council of whether or not to fly the national Maori sovereignty flag outside council offices.

    While Waitangi Day might pass quietly in Gisborne and the East Coast, more than 5000 homesick expats gathered together across the ditch at Perth’s Mossman Park to celebrate their Kiwi nationhood.

    “What an awesome day, our first Waitangi Day ever — here or in New Zealand,” said “Coastie” Walker.

    Entertainment was provided by Maori, Samoan, Niuean and Cook Island Maori cultural groups as well as a rapper and DJ from Uawa and Tikitiki.

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