Waitangi Day is an annual New Zealand national celebration celebrated each February 6th. It commemorates the day that the Maori chiefs to sign the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 with English negotiators. The day is also a time of celebration, song and a number of other activities. Many people view it as a way to pay tribute to their indigenous ancestors and to remember how they came to be in the country we now call home.
It’s been observed for many different reasons. For some, it is seen as an opportunity to meet some of the people that made their way over to settle in New Zealand. For others, it’s an opportunity to remember the hard work that went into creating the country we have today.
But for many people, it’s just a day to remember that Waitangi day was a day of triumph for Maori. And by “just” the day they celebrate, there are a number of other things that must be considered before a celebration is truly an appropriate day.
Before you start planning your celebration around Waitangi day, you need to take stock of the other events in the nation. Take stock of the major celebrations – like Mardi Gras, St Patrick’s Day and Christmas. Compare the scale of these to the relatively small scale of Waitangi. Are there bigger events that would be more fitting for Waitangi? What about festivals or events like a local carnival or school carnival?
You should also think about the kind of atmosphere that will be necessary for a Waitangi celebration. Will there be live entertainment, traditional songs and dances, a large array of food and beverages or just a few?
One of the most important aspects of the celebration is its timing. This is something that needs some thought and consideration. If Waitangi day falls around a holiday time (for example Christmas) you’ll need to make sure that your celebrations are not only part of the day, but part of the festivities that precede the day. Also bear in mind that some people will be away from the celebrations in order to attend to family members and friends.
As, well as the timing, you should think about the location of your celebration. There are several different ways to do this. One is to arrange a traditional gathering at a hotel or restaurant or at the place where the Treaty was signed. Another option is to hold the celebration in a hall or park or even at the harbour front.
You could also organise a festival that includes all aspects of the New Zealand story. This may be a day of music, dance or food and drink.
Some people have chosen to decorate Waitangi Day as part of a cultural celebration. In this case, you could arrange for a wide range of New Zealand artwork or cultural exhibits and hire a cultural guide or photographer to document it for your photographs and videos.
Some people have chosen to hold a Waitangi Day event in their own backyard. This can be great fun and can involve some creativity, and imagination. If you have the time and resources, it can be a lot of fun! If you are working on a tight budget you could organise your own party at your home and invite your friends and families over.
Many people choose to carry on their own traditions, including the use of songs and dances that are not related to Waitangi. However, they should always ensure that they are appropriate for the occasion. This means that no matter what you decide to do, you should ensure that the songs and dances are suitable for Waitangi day. As well as ensuring that people enjoy themselves, you must also ensure that the Waitangi ceremony is conducted in the correct way.
While many people may choose to keep Waitangi Day as a holiday or even a party, others will plan a day of reflection or study of the significance of the ceremony. There are lots of interesting places where you can learn about Waitangi and the culture of New Zealand.