What is Waitangi Day?!

Happy Waitangi Day!
Wait, what? What is Waitangi Day?!

Waitangi Day is a public holiday in New Zealand that commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is a significant part of NZ history. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed at Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands on the 6th of Feb 1840. The treaty was between the British and the Maori and granted Maori rights to their land and also gave the Maori the same rights as the British. There are two versions of the Treaty, one in English, and one in Maori. There have been some discrepancies found between the English version the the translated version of the Maori treaty, which has over the years been the subject of a many protests and conflict between Pakeha (NZ Europeans) and the Maori.

Source: http://www.whitewolfpack.com/2015/02/maori-waitangi-day-celebrations-2015.html

Source – whitewolfpack.com

There are annual commemorations of the signing of the Treaty of Watangi at the signing site at Waitangi. These commemorations generally start the day prior, and at dawn on Waitangi Day the NZ Royal Navy raise the NZ flag as well as the White Ensign on the flagpole. During the day church services and cultural displays such as song and dance occur. As well as this, the NZ Royal navy and many Waka (Maori wooden canoe) will re-enact the signing of the Treaty. At the end of the day the flag is lowered in a traditional Navy ceremony. Every year the Prime Minister of NZ, the Governor General, and other parliamentary members attend the commemorations. Often Maori activists take this as an opportunity protest for the long standing frustrations that have occurred for Maori through the signing of the Treaty. Due to the high tension of previous years of Waitangi Day celebrations, police presence is always high on the day.

source: http://cached.newslookup.com/cached.php?ref_id=139&siteid=2126&id=11454049&t=1423155960

source: one news

Throughout the country people chose different ways to celebrate Waitangi Day. Many people enjoy the day off work by engaging in community events, cultural shows, musical concerts (this also falls on Bob Marley’s Birthday so reggae music is highly popular), and others just take the day to reflect on a piece of NZ history while relaxing at their home.

Kelsey PKelsey Patterson is API’s Resident Coordinator in Dunedin, New Zealand. Learn more about API’s study abroad programs and Dunedin here.

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