The NZ Prime Minister says she hopes every New Zealander, at least once in their lifetimes, gets a chance to go to Waitangi for Waitangi Day. Firstly, because it’s a special place to be, and secondly so they can see how it differs from “what you might see from time to time in the public domain”.
Last year was my first Waitangi Day at Waitangi. I went along with some Pākehā friends, for whom it was also a new experience. We were all surprised by the festival mood, the music, the stalls, the delicious home-made iceblocks. We were all back again this year.
Every year around Waitangi Day there is debate about what the day is, and whether it should continue as it is. So what is Waitangi Day? Is it a day of protest? A day of commemoration? A day of celebration? A day at the beach?