Waitangi Day

Waitangi Day Quick Facts - AU

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2025 Date6 February 2025
2026 Date6 February 2026

Waitangi Day

Waitangi Day in 2025

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Waitangi Day History

Waitangi Day commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The Treaty, signed between Maori Chiefs and the British Crown, is considered New Zealand’s founding document and aimed to establish a British Governor in the country while endorsing Maori ownership of their lands, forests, and fisheries. The day has since become a platform for celebrating Maori culture, as well as a time for reflection on the progress and challenges of social harmony and cultural respect within the nation.

For Australians, the observance of Waitangi Day also holds importance due to the close ties that exist between Australia and New Zealand, both culturally and historically. Incorporating Maori people into the broader Australian society has become vital, with a significant Maori population living in Australia. Additionally, many Australians work and live in New Zealand or have family ties to the country, bringing the significance of Waitangi Day beyond New Zealand's shores. Acknowledging this day provides an opportunity for Australians to gain a deeper understanding of the Maori culture and the historical foundations of their neighboring nation.

Various cultural events, performances, and gatherings are organised to celebrate the day, sharing traditional Maori food, music, and dance. These events provide an enriching platform for cross-cultural connections and highlight the importance of understanding New Zealand's history and cultural identity. Waitangi Day is observed on the 6th of February every year.

Waitangi Day Facts

  • The Treaty was signed in two different versions, one in English, the other in the Māori 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 Māori living on the islands.
  • Waitangi Day is named after the place where the treaty was signed – Waitangi, located in the Bay of Islands on the North Island of New Zealand.
  • The treaty was initially met with mixed reactions from both Māori and British settlers. While some Māori leaders saw it as an opportunity for protection and partnership, others were concerned about the loss of sovereignty and control over their land.
  • Over the years, the treaty's interpretation and implementation have been widely debated, leading to numerous legal battles and the establishment of the Waitangi Tribunal in 1975. The tribunal investigates treaty-related grievances and aims to address historical injustices.

Waitangi Day Top 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.
  • Take the opportunity to learn about the history and implications of the Treaty of Waitangi. Reflect on its significance for New Zealand's past, present, and future, and engage in discussions about its relevance and implementation today.
  • Explore the diverse flavors of New Zealand cuisine by preparing some traditional dishes at home. Cook a Hangi (a traditional Māori method of cooking in an earth oven), Pavlova (a meringue-based dessert), or a classic Kiwi meat pie.
  • Take the opportunity to learn more about the history and significance of Waitangi Day. Read books or articles that delve into the Treaty of Waitangi, the signing of the treaty, and its impact on New Zealand's history.

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