Waitangi Day History
Waitangi Day celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The Treaty of Waitangi is considered to be New Zealand’s founding document. The date marks an important moment in the nation’s history and is celebrated as New Zealand’s National Holiday.
Waitangi Day is celebrated annually on February 6th or the following Monday if it falls on a weekend. The day was first celebrated in 1934 and has been a public holiday since 1974.
Waitangi Day Facts & Quotes
- The Waitangi Treaty was signed by 500 Maori Chiefs and the several leaders who were representing the British Crown.
- The Treaty was signed in two different versions, one in English, the other in the Maori language. These two different versions have caused many issues over the years as it is claimed that the two documents did not mean the same thing to those who signed them.
- It is estimated that when the British first arrived in New Zealand, there were somewhere between 90,000 and 200,000 Maori living on the islands.
- Waitangi Day is frequently marred by protests from Maori Party members.
It is my strong belief that the days and events around Waitangi Day should contribute to the building of a sense of New Zealand identity and purpose.– Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand
Waitangi Day Top Events and Things to Do
- Read a book about the Waitangi Treaty. Some of our favorites Mission Girl, The Treaty House, Frontier of Dreams and The Treaty of Waitangi.
- Donate to the Commemorating Waitangi Day Fund which supports the day’s events.
- Rise early to participate in the traditional Dawn Service in Te Whare Runanga on the Treaty Grounds. This marks the beginning of the celebration day.
- Generate awareness for the day by using hashtags such as #WaitangiDay, #WaitangiTreaty and #Maoripeople.
- Attend local food stalls. These food stalls sell traditional Maori dishes as well as other tasty treats. Most cities have these stalls and nearby live entertainment from Maori and locals alike.