Grandma and her boys

Friday, 6 February 2009

Waitangi Day

Every year on 6 February, New Zealand marks the signing of
The Treaty of Waitangi
In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and over
500 Maori chiefs signed what is New Zealand’s founding document.
The day was first officially commemorated in 1934.
It has been a public holiday since 1974. For some people, Waitangi Day is a holiday; for many, and especially for Maori, it is the occasion for reflecting on the Treaty. Since the 1970s the style and mood of the commemorations on Waitangi Day have been influenced by the increasingly heated debate surrounding the place of the Treaty in modern
New Zealand.
Waitangi Day is recognised as New Zealand's national day, but the long-standing tensions associated with it are always likely to surface in one form or another.

Treaty House in Waitangi, Bay of Islands

The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand's founding document. It takes its name from the place in the Bay of Islands where it was first signed, on 6 February 1840.
The Treaty is an agreement, in Maori and English, that was made between the British Crown and about 540 Maori rangatira (chiefs).
Growing numbers of British migrants arrived in New Zealand in the late 1830s, and there were plans for extensive settlement. Around this time there were large-scale transactions with Maori for land, unruly behaviour from some settlers and signs that the French were interested in annexing New Zealand. The British government was initially unwilling to act, but it eventually realised that annexing the country could protect Maori, regulate British subjects and secure commercial interests.
Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson had the task of securing British sovereignty over New Zealand. He relied on the advice and support of, among others, James Busby, the British Resident in New Zealand. The Treaty was prepared in just a few days. Missionary Henry Williams and his son Edward translated the English draft into Maori overnight on 4 February. About 500 Maori debated the document for a day and a night before it was signed on 6th February.
Different understandings of the Treaty have long been the subject of debate. From the 1970s especially, many Maori have called for the terms of the Treaty to be honoured. Some have protested – in marches on Parliament and by land occupation. There have been studies of the Treaty and a growing awareness of its meaning in modern New Zealand.
The Treaty of Waitangi is not considered part of New Zealand domestic law, except where its principles are referred to in several Acts of Parliament. The exclusive right to determine the meaning of the Treaty rests with the Waitangi Tribunal, a commission of inquiry created in 1975 to investigate the Crown's alleged breaches of the Treaty. More than 1000 claims have been lodged with the tribunal, and a number have been settled some in Maori favour and some not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Geoff & I have very happy memories of visiting here withyou on our visit and Geoff pointed out that feb 6 was Treaty day . So we had a few thoughts regading our NZ trip. Happy Days cant wait to come again