The 6th of February is
. So this week when millions and millions of people are celebrating Chinese New Year all over the world -
Happy Chinese New Year
everybody - a few million people will be celebrating Waitangi Day, or at will least be happy to get a public holiday.
Waitangi Day is New Zealand's national day and it is celebrated on the 6th of Feb to commerate the signing of the
Treaty of Waitangi. (Waitangi is the place where the signing took place) The Treaty of Waitangi was a treaty signed between Queen Victoria of Britain (not personally) and over 500 Maori chiefs. It is important to note that this is an international treaty because 5 years prior many Maori Chiefs had signed a
Declaration of Independence
(not the one drafted by Thomas Jefferson) but one which basically declared New Zealand as an independent country. This document was still being circulated and signed by Maori chiefs up until the Treaty was signed.
So to cut a long story short Waitangi Day celebrates the founding document of New Zealand as it allowed British to settle here and was supposed to protect the rights of Maori. Of course, the Treaty hasn't protected the rights of Maori at all and there are usually protests at Waitangi every year. Some photos:
heavy police presence in 1983 (it's not only British Police officers who wear boobs on their heads
Statue of Queen Victoria (in Wellington) holding the Tino Rangatiratanga Flag (represents Maori Sovereingty), hehe some of my more radical friends at varsity used to call her the Stoney Bitch
Not all Pakeha are opposed to Tino Rangatiratanga
Tama Iti is a staunch Maori activist that scares the bejeezus out of many Tau-Iwi (Pakeha and other non-Maori). He was arrested under new terrorism laws last year (along with other political activists).
It was disgusting and I was pleased to see the UN condemn our Government for the arrests.
Transit NZ refuse to fly the Maori flag along side the NZ flag on Waitangi Day from the Auckland Harbour Bridge - personally I think this is racist. Here is a pic of the NZ flag being flown beside the EU flag. The Flags from many countries have flown from this bridge but the Govt won't allow Maori to fly their flag beside the NZ flag on a day that is supposed to represent a union between Maori and Pakeha.
I like Waitangi Day and don't think it should be renamed or moved to another date (as some clamour for), it is the founding document of the nation and hiding from the wrongs colonists committed does not address the issues Maori want re-dress for. Hopefully my country can find meaningful solutions for all parties.
I will leave you with a clip from Raybon Kan (a kiwi comedian) on saying I love you, I'm not sure how cultural this clip is so tell me if you don't think it is funny (I always giggle at 'thank you for having me' )
. He does briefly mention the treaty at the end.
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