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Happy Waitangi day

Written By: - Date published: 9:41 am, February 6th, 2019 - 30 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

E nga mana, e nga reo, e rau rangatira ma, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

I hope everyone gets out today to celebrate Waitangi day.

For many, many years Waitangi day was a day of tension, when frustration over treaty breaches smashed into expectations of a nice civic event.  And a large part of the population complained.  Can’t we all be friends?

There has been a great deal of politics.  Back in 1975 the third Labour Government passed the Treaty of Waitangi Act and set up the Waitangi Tribunal with somewhat limited powers but the intent was to address treaty breaches.  Norm Kirk inspired it with this simple piece of poetic symbolism.


Then the Lange led fourth Labour Government did something really good.  My membership of the Labour Party lapsed not long after this such was my disgust with Rogernomics but let me say that the Nuclear free legislation and changes to the Waitangi Tribunal’s jurisdiction to allow it to investigate treaty breaches back to 1840 were the two highlights.

Things get complex politically. National Ministers Doug Graham and Chris Finlayson did good work. It seems that the rhetoric of a campaign and the decision making of right wing but principled politicians come up with interesting results. And there were really interesting local political examples, like Andrew Judd, who was elected as Mayor of New Plymouth on a subtlety right wing platform but then had a real road to Damascus conversion and realised and acknowledged the importance of Tangata Whenua. His attempt to ensure there was Maori representation on the New Plymouth Council was met with the perfect red neck response and he stood down.

It is funny really. Auckland Council has, with National’s guidance, done the same thing. And the sky has not fallen.

And recently the tone of Waitangi day has improved. Last year it was a wonderful thing.

This year the media coverage has made me cross. The usual elements including Simon Bridges’s twitterer have tried to make a big deal because Jacinda did not instantaneously recite the treaty word for word after being blindsided by a question.

But in the interests of our national day I will say no more.

Have a good one. While you are enjoying it reflect on the egregious way the treaty has been broken and how steps to atone are modest but are being graciously received.

30 comments on “Happy Waitangi day ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    I’m ambivalent. Worth celebrating, inasmuch as it established a racial partnership in principle. Not worth it, inasmuch as the principle was not honoured via subsequent political practice. Remedial enterprise, such as the instances you note, in recent decades has been encouraging.

    Hobson’s pledge to the chiefs who signed seems an attempt at holistic framing. It was defeated by the dual nature of the Treaty. Dualism, therefore, historically gained the upper hand over holism in the collective psyche. The two treaties are fundamentally different in respect of sovereignty: Te Tiriti has a second article that includes the principle of tribal governance, whereas the Treaty does not.

    After Hobson issued his pledge, Aotearoa was ruled from afar by the NSW colonial governor until our state was instituted by an Act of the British Parliament in 1852, which did not come into effect until proclaimed here on 17 Jan 1853. The machinery of our democracy and governance was subsequently created on the basis of that Act. Colonialist govts proceeded to enact laws and administer this country on the basis of the English version, and tribal chiefs continued to rule their traditional domains on the basis of the Maori version.

    The failure of Henry Williams to correctly duplicate the principles of the Treaty may have been accidental. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was Machiavellian. Failure to include recognition of the principle of chiefly governance in the English version meant the entire structure of our democracy was erected on a fault-line rather than on solid consensual ground. Brash & his lobby group ought to pull-finger and get their heads around the historical fact.

    However, this fact also impedes his opponents, who want to use the Treaty as a conceptual strait-jacket to bind Aotearoans into a future hamstrung by a flawed past. We will not be thus bound!

  2. Kia ora! I hope everyone in the TS whanau has a relaxing day today. Not beach weather where I am, however, I’ll still be getting out and trying to get in touch with te whenua via the medium of gardening. Planting a native tree seems like an appropriate way to mark the day, ae?

    • francesca 2.1

      Well I dunno TRP
      I’d be leaving the tree planting to at least April/May if you want them to survive
      rather than just be a ceremonial gesture.
      Bloody hot and dry here anyway, despite a light drizzle today, we’re having to conserve water
      I usually stop planting in August and resume in April

    • lprent 2.2

      Lyn has a birthday on Waitangi day. Party time (for me to humbug)

  3. greywarshark 3

    Claudia Orange describes the background to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi – good short summary of the history.

  4. rata 4

    Prior to 1975 Waitangi day was hardly observed.
    It was a day off school or work.
    Since 1975 Waitangi day has been Maori bashing day.
    The media has focused almost entirely on protests at Waitangi.
    99% of Maori are not at Waitangi but 99% of media coverage is.
    Pakeha New Zealanders have come to expect their their annual pantomime
    the good Pakeha v the bad Maori protester performed every 6th of February.
    To be fair the media just gives the majority what they want.
    Do not expect change any time soon.
    The best thing Maori could do would be to not go to Waitangi at all.
    Let Pakeha go there on their own to celebrate diversity by themselves.
    Simple but extremely effective.

    • greywarshark 4.1

      That is not a helpful approach to regarding the greatness of Waitangi Day and how different people regard it. No good being cynical – we need to press on with the positives.

      • rata 4.1.1

        “No good being cynical” – we need to press on with the positives?
        Sorry if I am not bouncy feel good today.
        40 years of negativity toward Maori from the Pakeha press
        + 40 years of negative attacks from the white National party and
        right wing hate talk radio
        has drained me of my positivity.
        The fact that most of your comments on issues on this blog are full of negativity, criticism and narrow minded dogma makes your call to ” press on with the positives” so hypocritical.
        BTW “Greywarshark” is not such a positive name.

        • patricia bremner

          Hi Rata,
          Right wing radio!! Don’t listen to those red necks.. they’d make anyone blue.

          You are right about the articles and click bait. The main events were glossed over lightly and the reporters seemed delighted that Brash and”Bishop Tamaki were expected to play a protest role.

          Personally, as a 5th generation NZer with Maori family members, I know in “both houses” as Jacinda Ardern puts it, some respect it and observe it, some ignore it and to them it’s just a break.

          I think the pledge of money to encourage the learning of our history, and To build up a supply of teachers and resources will help.

          When they start night school classes again I think Te Tiriti and Te Reo wiil blossom.

          We need to do even more to create good meeting places. Not like Talk Back.

        • greywarshark

          Well sorry about your sad opinions.

          You don’t read mine thoroughly. There is plenty that I am concerned about but when I see something positive I note it. And I try to remember to enjoy the things I have; the glass half full rather than half empty thing. When I complain I try to look for an answer, make a suggestion for change. And I am interested in others and wish them well particularly when they are thinking of ideas that can make life better for others as well as themselves.

          But carry on feeling glum and angry, it gets to be the default position with some people. Nothing’s good, everyone else is bad and prevent others from having their desires which would magically solve all their problems. 😀

          • rata

            That’s fine for you.
            40 years of Maori bashing is not your experience
            so you don’t have to worry about it.
            Just carry on living in your la la land
            the default position of those who refuse to see the truth.
            Soon enough there will be an issue which annoys you
            and I will be there to tell you to just be positive.
            What goes around comes around.

    • Bazza64 4.2

      Rata you are right. The media love covering agitation. Sadly NZers have been given a warped sense of race relations based on what they throw at us on the TV news each Waitangi Day.

    • Chris T 4.3

      Agree the media just focus on the bad bits.

      The rest of is just a racist rant, not worth commenting on.

    • alwyn 4.4

      “It was a day off school or work.”.
      It didn’t become a Public Holiday in New Zealand until 1974.
      Thus, unless you lived in Northland I think, if you took the day of school you would have been playing the wag.

    • left_forward 4.5

      I guess you didn’t go to Waitangi then, rata.
      It was the opposite to the bleak picture that you paint from your media influenced imagination.
      Although yesterday was diverse, it was generally a celebration of Maori; tikanga, te reo, wairua, waiata, kanikani, kapa haka, tamariki, whanau, kaumatua, hauora, nga te mea.
      A wide range of issues were peacefully and warmly presented, raising awareness and korero. It was fun, friendly and family orientated.
      Yet another splendid day at Waitangi – nga mihi nui to the hosts, organisers and ordinary people who again made it the special day that it was.

    • left_forward 4.6

      Not all the news media gets it wrong – it just depends on who you choose to get your ‘news’ from:

  5. greywarshark 5

    Waka making and journeys –

    Master carver Ta Hekenukumai Busby, renowned practitioner of the endangered Māori art form of waka building, has been recognised in today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
    “An esteemed kaumatua, a master waka builder, a spirited adventurer with a curious mind; it is a privilege to honour Hek Busby today as he becomes a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to Māori”, Minister for Crown/Māori relations, Kelvin Davis says.,

    Waka Tapu journey from 2012-2013




    Waka visiting Waitangi November 2014 from Hawaii.

    Moderator (Please delete my previous comments as i had forgotten I had too many links. Have now cut in two.)

  6. greywarshark 6

    Waka and youth – and showcasing to the world

    A Whangarei event showcasing Maori aspiration for youth.
    Te Kapehu Whetu
    Rangatahi Inc Launch Dinner admin
    On August 28 this year, a bold new initiative called Rangatahi Inc was launched at Whangarei’s Toll Stadium. Rangatahi Inc is a collaborative initiative designed to unlock rangatahi entrepreneurship in Tai Tokerau. This video captures some of the highlights from the evening including the first product launch as a result of Rangatahi Inc – Inc Me, a high quality smart phone case with a QR code that contains a company or individual’s contact details.

    The Gisborne Herald reports: THE 100 or so dolphins that glided alongside voyaging waka Haunui were the highlight for the crew who sailed from Gisborne to Auckland last month, says Turanga Ararau student Ihaka Wharepapa. Mr Wharepapa was one of four Gisborne and East Coast crew, that included fellow Turanga Ararau students Juanita Harihana and Sheldon Barbarich, and Whangara School teacher Jay Love.

    Full Maori Waka Taua Doc.1.22.38
    Te Hono ki Aotearoa
    Museum Volkenkunden Leiden (Holland)

    Maori waka chant and paddling

    Americas Cup? See NZ waka racing in Tahiti.

    Polynesian navigation

  7. greywarshark 7

    What i am concentrating on on Waitangi Day is to bring reports of Maori culture and great creativity and skill, (beyond most pakeha aspiration) to the post for all to enjoy. In the afternoon I hope to go and see Peter Jackson WW1 coming to life in his film I think They Shall never grow Old.

    And I need to find time to say a small prayer for a quick end to our major fire disaster in the region near Wakefield. Animals being caught in it, birds, some houses gone i think. One small flame probably and then out of control with the winds and the dryness. God help us.

    • patricia bremner 7.1

      We are praying with you for a break in the wind and for the brave fire crews Kia kaha Grey.

  8. CC 8

    Wellington’s Mt. Cook is alive with the sounds of a rowdy party at Patsy Reddy’s place.

    • veutoviper 8.1

      LOL. More details/gossip, please.

      Many, many years ago I have to admit I attended quite a number of rowdy etc parties there! Particularly during the Porritt days.

      One of the best was when a certain UK aircraft carrier was in port on its final around the world lap before being decommissioned … !!! Those were the days …

  9. ropata 9

    A positive view – 99.9% of visitors to Waitangi experience a day of celebration

  10. Ad 10

    Best Waitangi Day I’ve seen.

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