Case Study – Chatham Islands Waitangi Day Celebrations

Bringing the whole community together

More than 1000 kilometres from the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the Chatham Community Focus Trust, in collaboration with Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekuri Trust, held their Waitangi Day celebrations at Plum Tree.

Photo Credit: Chatham Community Focus Trust

What was the event?

Waitangi Day has been celebrated as a community event on the Chatham Islands for many years now. For the last two years celebrations have taken place as an outdoor community picnic.

‘The outdoor picnic works really well in this community and this is something that we will continue to do to make this day a success.’

Sheree Gay, who has organised celebrations for the last three years, describes the Chatham Islands Waitangi Day Celebrations as ‘an event that the whole community is invited to and come together for a relaxing family fun day and time for conversation and reflection on Waitangi Day’.

Over 70 community members gathered to commemorate the day at Plum Tree for celebrations complete with waiata, kōrero, kapa haka, activities—including a te reo Māori scavenger hunt and Waitangi Day quiz—and kai.

‘It gave our community the chance to celebrate and commemorate Waitangi Day together with friends and family.’

Tyranny of Distance

Organising community events can throw up a number of obstacles. The Trust encountered a not entirely unexpected problem: their geographic distance.

‘We had a few issues getting our supplies in from New Zealand but this is something that we on the island have to deal with all the time.’

Photo Credit: Chatham Community Focus Trust

Eco-friendly initiative

2018 marked the second year of the celebration’s eco-friendly initiative. Community members are asked to bring their own plates, cutlery and cups to reduce plastic waste.

The Chatham Islands Waitangi Day Celebrations have been consistently growing for a number of years. The Trust looks forward to continuing to plan their Waitangi commemorations, which will only get bigger and better in the years to come.

‘For me personally I have loved being a part of this event as it is very rewarding seeing the people in our community enjoying a day together and with purpose.’

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