Waitangi Day memorable experience

Philip Kirby may have lived in New Zealand for just two days, but he has already had a memorable Waitangi Day experience.

''I just did it 19 times,'' the amiable Australian told the Otago Daily Times,after taking part in the hongi with gathered dignitaries at Otakou marae yesterday.

Mr Kirby and his New Zealand wife, Susan, moved from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, to live in Brighton just two days ago.

The couple said they enjoyed their Waitangi Day experience, a far cry from how Australians celebrated their national day on January 26.

''It is basically [about drinking],'' Mrs Kirby said.

The couple were among the more than 500-strong crowd who gathered for the 10am powhiri.

The large number of people were welcomed by Otakou runanga elder Edward Ellison.

''We are looking forward to a relaxed day, a gathering of the community and of our community leaders,'' Mr Ellison told the crowd.

The Ngai Tahu Treaty Festival was getting bigger each year. The runanga hosts every third Waitangi Day as one of the three locations where Ngai Tahu signed the Treaty in 1840.

Te Runanga o Otakou chairwoman Donna Matahaere-Atariki said the Treaty was not signed so everyone could walk away.

''That is why the theme today is whanaungatanga - it is about relationships.''

Those relationships were evident as people talked while sharing food and drink in the sun-soaked surrounds of Otakou.

- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz


Richness needs to be embraced

Totally agree with all of that Soar Bones, and yes, all of that richness needs to be embraced. I look forward to that public dialogue.

Plain speaking required.

Juju1967: Whilst I have no problem with the mixed descendants of an earlier migrant group inviting me to celebrate with them their culture, my dismay is at the obvious majority who seemingly have other views that are not always heard, as reflected by the poll percentages that I referred to.  

Perhaps it's time to call a spade a spade (or a boat a boat) in a public dialogue that reflects a future not a past, a future society that already has a multicultural base rather than bicultural as some might wish.

One has only to see the migrant intake since WW2 to gain an insight to what the future holds.  Look around you at the faces, body shapes, skin tones, personal beliefs and accents that reflect the future image of our society in the years to come.

Is that richness worth embracing as part of a National Day?

It's a start, don't you think?

Soar Bones: The fact that tangata whenua are inviting you to come and celebrate with them is a sign that the tide is changing and an indication that perhaps it could be the "National Day" people would like!
For many years protests have been the order of the day but in recent times there has been a shift in thinking, a desire o look and move to the future, as a nation. I suspect some people, who are perhaps in the majority, do not acknowledge or accept the place of Maori as tangata whenua and therefore will unfortunately miss the waka of embracing the bicultural relationship that the treaty espouses.
As a non-Maori I look forward to it and embrace the intent knowing that it will benefit all of us living here. Unlike Australia, where their national day of celebration excludes any acknowledgement of the first peoples of that land. And we all know how they treat them!



Waitangi Day feedback?

Just what's going on here with the reporting of the couple having had a joyfull experience having lived in Dunedin only two days?

Having lived for in Australia for many years, it's been in my experience that the majority support Australia Day. There's no doubt that it's their National Day, their Australia Day.

So shortly afterwards while checking out Yahoo news my curiosity was aroused enough to look at "Today's Poll, Did you celebrate Waitangi Day?" To my dismay I read that ...

5% (for) Yes it's important.

94% (for)  No but it's nice to have a day off.

1% (for) Not sure. 

OK that's alarming. So after discussion with my wise & all knowing wife about just who in the large circle of people we have contact with, had participated or has even expressed support for Waitangi Day in general. Only three came into play, strangely one who gets into causes of every ilk from the under dog to the anti drilling. (I'm sure the stadium is in there too) A ratio of three to eighty in simple terms, reflecting above poll. 

It doesn't take much to apply the above poll figures (round down the larger, round up the lower) then apply to our country'ss population as a whole, to get the strong feeling that it's not a unifying "National Day" that some want strongly (one way or another) for Waitangi Day to be.

Is it simply a culturally bias day with an embracing "National Day" yet to come? 


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