Many Pakeha New Zealanders seem to feel confused about Waitangi, and that constrains our ability to wholeheartedly celebrate it as our national day. We are confused about the ‘one nation, two people’ thing, and there is maybe some misplaced guilt and anger about the past, and about Maori assertions of their rights under the Treaty.
For those Pakeha who think it is relevant only to Maori, we need to remember that it is the Treaty that gives us our place here.
Unity in diversity is healthy. It is also productive and creative. The Treaty of Waitangi, with all its flaws is our Treaty too. I, for one, enjoy exploring and learning about our history, especially as the version I was taught was neither accurate nor helpful in increasing my general understanding. The reality was much meatier and more challenging and interesting.
A visit to Waitangi, especially on Waitangi Day is one we should all make at least once in a lifetime. I treasure the visits I have made, both on Waitangi Day and on several other occasions.
On Waitangi Day I believe we should celebrate the things we have gained together, and acknowledge and explore the things we have still to do. We should treasure our uniqueness as a nation of Maori, Pakeha and everyone else who has chosen to make Aotearoa New Zealand their home.
I also think Waitangi Day should be ‘Mondayised,’ to use that ugly word. It is after all our National Day and should be accorded due respect.
It is rather ironic that Waitangi Day seems to be celebrated more wholeheartedly by our compatriots abroad than at home.
I can’t resist adding that it is shame the Waitangi Trust web site has fallen prey to the “greying of the Internet.” Perhaps trustees should remember that Waitangi Day is for all of us, and all includes disabled and older people of all ethnicities who may struggle to read grey text on an important site. After all Ink on the internet is free.