Say what you will about race relations in New Zealand and the Waitangi Treaty that sealed the colonisation deal in 1840 there are still (at least) five wonderful things about Waitangi Day.
Yes, I know, that every year since I can remember there’s a scuffle on the Marae, that Maori nationalistic flags steal the cameras and Titewhai Harawhira is bound to pack a sad. But, Waitangi Day is the closest thing we have to a New Zealand national day, and for that reason, if that reason alone I reckon we should celebrate.
Of course there are other brilliant things about Waitangi Day.
1)It’s celebrated on 6th February every year since 1934, which is peak summer time, meaning it’s the perfect time and opportunity for a BBQ lunch of snags and steak with side order of sunscreen.
2) If I remember my NZ history lessons well enough, the Waitangi Treaty is a very rare and special thing. The British colonists weren’t terribly enamoured with signing land treaties with their conquered peoples. But the Maori so impressed them with their warlike qualities that they decided to get something on parchment quick smart.
3) Despite the tensions that surface (pretty much without fail) on the day, the Waitangi Festival organising committee have promoted the celebrations as a family day of fun on and around the marae. This year Waitangi’s going bigtime. Yup. They’ve even got a very special edition of Waitangi Has Talent where finalists will get up on the waka stage and do their thing. (I wonder if the talent will include a haka?)
4) On the day itself there are lots of fab celebrations throughout New Zealand, from waka arriving at Okahu Bay in Auckland to a multi-cultural celebration on the waterfront in Wellington. Overseas Kiwis celebrate too and in London every year around this time the Central Line pub crawl takes place. This year over 4000 people dressed up (many as sheep) and took part over the past weekend. Amazingly, the police were so impressed by the behaviour of the Kiwi crowds they said they were easier to control than 100 drunk English folk. Cor! (and well done Kiwis in London! On yer!)
5)The last wonder of Waitangi Day is a very special offer by a fab British author I mistakenly rebuked by calling Dave, instead of Dan, which is his name. Dan is offering his very cool book Ka Mate (My Ka Mate review here) for download FREE from Amazon during 5-7th February.
Sweet as Dan!
Happy Waitangi Day everyone. Arohanui to all, whatever your ethnicity. If you’re Kiwi enough to be enjoying a nice chunk of Pavlova and a BBQ sausie this Waitangi Day, that’s good enough for me!