Waitangi Day in New Zealand

Waitangi Day New Zealand

What is Waitangi Day

What is frequently regarded as the founding document of New Zealand was signed by emissaries of the British Crown, including over 500 Maori leaders. This is why on this day we celebrate Waitangi Day.

Waitangi Day All Quick Overview

  • Time/Date: February 6 
  • Category: Federal
  • Where it’s Marked: New Zealand
  • Why it’s Marked: To honor the execution of the Agreement of Waitangi, the constitution of New Zealand.

History of Waitangi Day 

The Treaty of Waitangi, frequently referred to as New Zealand's foundation constitution outlines the tenets to which Maori chiefs and British officials signed a democratic pact to create a republic and set up a government. It was drafted and adopted in response to the rapidly evolving conditions in New Zealand, where an increasing number of Westerners were buying Maori land for the purpose of establishing trading transactions. As the settlement population proliferated, rampant crime and bloodshed followed. Additionally, the British were concerned about a potential French or American colonization of New Zealand. In essence, the British desired to arrive first.

The treaty served as the foundational agreement for British authority, which later transferred to the New Zealand legislature. Since that day, the country has realized the significance of this action, which is subsequently being looked at by the Waitangi Tribunal.

How to Celebrate Waitangi Day 

Others have criticized Waitangi Day, while some utilize it to honor Maori culture or because it typically implies a "long weekend."

The Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands host the official commemoration, which includes a procession and remarks from government leaders in the Te Tii Marae. Although it hosts joyful festivities and festival-style activities, it is also where demonstrations take place.

Groups gather together across the remainder of New Zealand to celebrate the arrival of new all together individuals via events like tree planting, kapa haka musical displays, and hangi (traditional Maori meal).

Some communities utilize the day to establish Maori heritage and culture to their surrounding people and as an academic opportunity for them or as a chance to discuss where they view Maori as residing and the direction Maori should take in New Zealand.

Memorial services are generally less intense than on most nations' national holidays. Neither extensive ceremonies nor large-scale parades or fireworks displays are held. Ordinarily, political conventions take place in the Government House in Auckland.

Since the day is a holiday weekend and falls during the hottest portion of the summertime in New Zealand, numerous individuals take advantage of the chance to enjoy the day at the beach, which is a significant component of New Zealand tradition.

Countries that Observe Waitangi Day

Waitangi Day is observed in solitude in many other nations where New Zealanders have emigrated. All New Zealand embassies and high commissions recognize the day formally. 

To commemorate Waitangi Day in 2007, Air New Zealand hired several New Zealanders residing in Southern California and Los Angeles to build a sand monument of a silver fern on Santa Monica Beach. This event caused a commotion in the neighborhood.

The Waitangi Day Ball, hosted by the New Zealand Society UK, honors the anniversary in London, England, which is home to one of the biggest populations of New Zealanders living abroad. The main objective of the celebration is to honor the variety and national integration of New Zealand.

Since 2002, the Te Korowai Aroha Association has conducted a biannual cosmopolitan celebration at the Kingston Butter Factory in Kingston, Queensland, Australia, to commemorate Waitangi Day. The celebration included artifact exhibitions, haka performances, Maori culture and food, tattoos, and sculpting. The first Waitangi Day Commemoration apparently happened in Nurragingy Reserve with a greater emphasis on the constitution itself, the Treaty process, and its resonance for Maori and Pakeha today. The Blacktown City Council and the New South Wales Maori Wardens jointly sponsored it.

Interesting Facts about Waitangi Day 

Here are some fascinating facts about Waitangi Day to commemorate the occasion.

  • The Treaty of Waitangi was initially signed on February 6, 1840.
  • The Treaty of Waitangi was initially signatured by 500 Maori chiefs. 
  • It was only in 1974 that the day became a national holiday.
  • The name has occasionally switched between Waitangi Day and New Zealand Day. 
  • Today, visitors to the Bay of Islands may still see the home at which the agreement was signed.
  • New Zealand was the first country that permitted the voting of women in 1893.
  • New Zealand has three official languages; among them, sign language is one. The rest of the languages are English and Maori.
  • Apart from Bats, all other animals introduced to New Zealand were by Maoris and Europeans.

Unique Waitangi Day Celebration Ideas

Other ways to observe Waitangi Day include activities other than setting off fireworks. See how enjoyable and simple it can be to celebrate Waitangi Day in the manner it merits by looking at the celebration ideas listed below.

  • Try to learn a patriotic song.
  • Arrange a Waitangi theme party.
  • Hoist the national flag on the balcony.
  • Check out the former flag versions.
  • Try to visit a local history museum.
  • Have a dine-in with family and friends. 
  • Plan a picnic or tour with your office colleagues. 
  • Perform traditional New Zealand dramas or plays.
  • You can send customized cakes to your friends.
  • Try to attend local fairs or festivities in your area.
  • Make DIY flags with children in the neighborhood.
  • You can also decorate your home with a patriotic theme.
  • Go colorful by adding a streak of patriotic color to your hair.
  • Try to write a poem regarding what freedom means to you.

 Waitangi Day Quotes 

These quotations vividly depict some of the most moving occasions in New Zealand's history that influenced millions of citizens of that country.

"He iwi tahi tatou - we are one people." - Governor William Hobson

“Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.” - Maori Proverb

“No one says that it will not cost money. No one says that it won’t be difficult, but the government is determined to try to clarify those injustices and do its best to compensate the victims.” - Peter Tapsell


1. What was the last name of New Zealand?

The former name of the country was Aotearoa.

2. How was New Zealand governed before this treaty existed?

New Zealand previously existed as a British colony. 

3. Is Aotearoa a recognized name?

Although the name exists in their passports and currency, it hasn't been officiated yet.

4. What is the difference between ‘Old Zealand’ and ‘New Zealand’?

New Zealand, as we all know, is the existing country; on the contrary, Old Zealand is a place in the Netherlands.

Waitangi Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2022Sun06 FebWaitangi DayPublic
2023Mon06 FebWaitangi DayPublic
2024Tue06 FebWaitangi DayPublic
2025Thu06 FebWaitangi DayPublic
2026Fri06 FebWaitangi DayPublic

We constantly update the dates of holidays that keep changing every year. However, while we revise and change some dates to be accurate, if you find any errors, kindly inform us . That will mean a lot to us.

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