New Zealand Day? Protest Day? Apathy Day?

Every Waitangi Day I see calls for having a day we can celebrate our country.

Waitangi Day commemorates the signing of the treaty, a significant event – as Edward Ellison has pointed out, especially for descendants of those who signed the treaty. But Waitangi Day doesn’t look like it will ever been seen as a celebration ofNew Zealand. Some Maori see it as a platform to air ongoing and historic grievances and media will keep higlighting that.

Hone Harawira sees Waitangi Day as an opportunity for “robust discussion” (he just said that on Firstline).

And that turns many others off the event. They certainly don’t see it as something to celebrate.

Anzac Day is another commemoration day, remembering those who have died for or served our country in war.

So there are calls (again) to have a day we can celebrate New Zealand, where we can say “We do know how lucky we are”.  Some of those views…

ODT Editorial: Shambles at Waitangi

Almost all New Zealanders, however, will do nothing in particular to ”celebrate” our nationhood. Apart from treating the day as another public holiday, any wider meaning is largely ignored.

And that is perhaps the biggest shame of all, because this is a nation – problems and all – that is blessed in its land, its people and even its institutions. Unfortunately, there is no end in sight to the annual Waitangi upheaval. It is little wonder that for many New Zealanders the focus and feeling of a ”national” day is on Anzac Day, the one time when unity is widespread, when dignity is upheld and when New Zealand is one nation.

Peter Dunne: Waitangi Day – time to rethink as we celebrate?

I think it’s time to establish a separate national celebration, a genuinely New Zealand Day incorporating all of the features of Waitangi Day, but also incorporating all of the things that make this country good and great.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog: Waitangi Day for Honours?

What I do advocate is that we establish a separate New Zealand Day. This should be a day to unashamedly celebrate the wonderful country we all live in, our many achievements, ourselves. It should be the equivalent of US Independence Day, Australia Day or French Bastille Day – a day of fun and joy.

Mike Hosking at Newstalk ZB: Mike’s Editorial: Waitangi Day isn’t what it should be

A national day to be truly national needs to reflect the whole story, not just one part of it.

A national day should resonate, it should permeate the national psyche, it should be a day off with special bits.

We, the people of New Zealand, could decide on a special day to celebrate our country, and just do it.

But possibly the best reflection of feelings would be having a National Apathy Day – if anyone could be bothered.

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