Every year on February 6th, New Zealand remembers the signature of the Waitangi treaty in 1840. Over 500 Mori chiefs and officials of the British Crown signed what is often regarded as New Zealand’s founding document in that year.
The day was initially honored in 1934, and since 1974, it has been a national holiday. Waitangi Day 2023 is a festival for some, but it is also a time for many people, particularly Mori, to reflect on the Treaty.
The increasingly intense discussion over the Treaty’s status in modern New Zealand has shaped the form and spirit of Waitangi Day commemorations since the 1970s. Although Waitangi Day is celebrated as New Zealand’s national day, the long-standing conflicts around it are certain to resurface in some form or another.
The date is noteworthy in the country’s past. The Treaty of Waitangi’s importance as the nation’s foundational document will continue to inspire leaders, communities, and individuals to commemorate the day in fresh ways.
Waitangi Day history:
The Treaty of Waitangi incorporated New Zealand into the British Empire, secured Mori land rights, and granted Mori citizens’ rights.
The treaty was signed in Waitangi, a town in the Bay of Islands, between a group of Maori chiefs and the British government, represented by Lieutenant-Governor Hobson.
In February 1840, Ngpuhi convened around 10,000 Mori at Te Tii marae to discuss the treaty for many days.
On February 6th, over 40 Mori rangatira (chiefs) and British Crown terms of engaging Te Tiriti o Waitangi beside British Government Representative James Busby’s home on the Waitangi grounds.
The inaugural Waitangi Day:
The 506-hectare Waitangi Estate was bought by Lord and Lady Bledisloe in 1932 and later given to the people of New Zealand.
The estate was placed in trust and will be maintained by the Waitangi National Trust Board, which is comprised of representatives from all of New Zealand’s major regions as well as members of several families with historical ties to the Treaty of Waitangi. Many Mori had been wanting a commitment for decades, and this gift provided it.
Waitangi Day 2023 #googledoodle:
This day in 1840, Mori chiefs & English Crown representatives signed the Te Tiriti o Waitangi, an agreement aimed to bringing Aotearoa New Zealand closer together. Today’s Doodle honours the historic Treaty of Waitangi, which is now honoured annually as Waitangi Day.
The Mori tribes contributed their special carving abilities to the construction of Te Whare Rnanga (the House of Assembly), the meeting house seen in today’s Doodle artwork, on the 100th anniversary of the treaty’s signing.
The Whare design’s distinctive carvings and complex tukutuku panels represent Mori throughout Aotearoa, bringing together the narratives and styles of all Iwi (tribes), displaying the one exhibition of Mori art as well as an illustration of Mori social and cultural life.
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Te Whare Rnanga, now regarded as one of the nation’s most significant cultural heritage places, serves as a gathering place for major hui (meetings) and signifies the union of Mori and all New Zealanders.
A ceremony within Te Whare Rnanga today marks the start of New Zealand’s annual Waitangi Festival, a lively event that includes Mori cultural performances and more.
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