Waitangi Day

Celebrating New Zealand´s National Day!

The New Zealand Embassy invites all ANZMEX members to join the Waitangi Day celebrations to a special reception that will be held at the Official Residence of New Zealand.

For more information please contact Lucia López.

 

Held each year on 6th February, this holiday commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitaingi in 1840, the founding document of New Zealand. This document made New Zealand part of the British Empire. Annual celebrations for this holiday didn't begin until 1947 but since then, celebrations are held across New Zealand.

Celebrations for Waitaingi Day fall into two categories. There are the official festivities held at Waitaingi, and the regular activities that people enjoy on their day off. While some people celebrate the history, others simply enjoy the public holiday as a break from work and opportunity to spend time with friends and family.

Waitaingi

The centre of official celebrations is in Waitaingi, where the treaty was signed. Here, celebrations kick off the night before the official holiday, on 5 February. This gathering has a political nature, and political dignitaries gather to hear speeches and debate important issues. The following morning at dawn, the Royal New Zealand Navy has the responsibility of raising the New Zealand Flag in the treaty grounds.

Throughout the day at Waitaingi there are other festivities as well, including church services, concerts, and dance performances. There is also a historical re-enactment of the governor being called onshore to sign the treaty. The day of celebrations finishes with the Navy lowering the flag as part of a larger official ceremony.

Throughout New Zealand

Beyond Waitaingi, this public holiday is celebrated in different ways. Communities plan public concerts and festivals. This day also happens to be Bob Marley's birthday, so reggae concerts and his music are especially popular for these community concerts. While this is the national holiday of New Zealand, it doesn't have celebrations similar to other countries such as fireworks or parades. It is a fairly simple celebration, with many people taking the opportunity to spend the day at the beach with their loved ones.

There are a couple events worth attending throughout New Zealand to celebrate this holiday. One of the biggest is 'One Love' festival in Wellington, celebrating peace. Another option is the 'Groove in the Park' held in Western Springs.

The New Zealand Embassy is currently organising an event for New Zealanders to conmemorate this day. Information will be published shortly.

For more information on Waitaingi Day please click here.