Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Waitangi Day

As promised, here are some photos and video clips from the Waitangi Day festivities.  The beautiful Bay of Islands and a clear blue sky provided the perfect backdrop for performances by the NZ Airforce 'Red Checkers' (acrobatic air fleet), Royal NZ Navy Band, NZ Navy Kapa Haka Group and a host of other activities such as traditional races using some of the original Maori wakas (canoes).

Waitangi Day is a national holiday that celebrates the Maori cultural heritage of New Zealand and the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on Feb 6, 1840.  The Treaty was signed by both the British Crown and the Maori with the intention of giving the Maori full rights as British citizens in New Zealand, while allowing governance by the Queen. The document was written in English and translated into Maori, and then signed by many chiefs and members of local iwi (tribes). However, because there was no exact Maori translation for some of the English, to this day there exists debate and controversy regarding some of the specifics of the document, especially when it comes to land and waterway ownership rights.

 Though there will always be a bit of friction surrounding rights and race relations between the Maori and Pakeha (non-Maori New Zealanders, of European decent), New Zealand is one of the most progressive nations in the world when it comes to embracing the culture and rights of its native peoples. English and Maori are both official national languages.

I was thankful to enjoy the many displays of patriotism and commeraderie, and a fun day with new friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment