From Waitangi’s Waitangi Day to New Zealand’s Waitangi Day

National MP Nuk Koraka explains Why Bill English and I went south for Waitangi Day

By using our national day to engage with iwi from all over the country, we send a message that we’re serious about the spirit of the Treaty instead of being where there will be the most cameras, writes Nuk Korako, National’s spokesperson for Māori Development

Waitangi Day is a day for discussion; a day for remembering; and a day for moving forward not, as some believe, a day for highlighting divisions. Waitangi Day should be – and for most of us is – a day to look back at what has been and come together to look at what can be.

This year, I joined Bill English for Ngāi Tahu’s Waitangi Day celebrations at Te Rau Aroha Marae in Awarua. The decision to go south this year was based on our belief that Waitangi Day is a day important to all Māori across New Zealand, and was in no way a slight on Ngāpuhi, as some have suggested.

The rich history and tikanga felt within the Treaty Grounds made it an undeniably special place to spend Waitangi Day.

We must always remember, the Treaty has signatories across the country, so it is only right to travel to those places like Awarua, in acknowledgement of that. As did our National Party members who attended Waitangi this year. Bill, I and a number of our colleagues spent the day engaging and discussing the progress and the work still to do between the Crown and iwi across New Zealand.

Iwi everywhere have their own stories of the Treaty and what Waitangi Day means to them and that includes Ngāi Tahu. One hundred and seventy eight years ago, on 10 June 1840, Ngāi Tahu Rakatira John Tuhawaiki, Kaikoura Whakatau, and Te Matenga Taiaroa signed the Treaty of Waitangi on Ruapuke Island just across from Awarua. Iwikau and Hone Tikao had previously signed at Akaroa on 30 May. Hone Karetai and my tipuna Korako were to sign in Otago on 13 June 1848.

The Tiriti o Waitangi was a nationwide agreement. Waitangi Day is overwhelmingly focussed on the place it was first signed, Waitangi, while most of the rest of the country largely ignores it, apart from some enjoying a public holiday for some.

By using our national day to engage with iwi from all over the country, we send a message that we’re serious about the spirit of the Treaty instead of being where there’ll be the most cameras.

The Treaty, to other iwi in New Zealand, does not begin and end at Waitangi. The Treaty is not about a place – it’s about people.  It’s not a location – it’s an agreement. And it was an agreement made with a large number of Rakatira across a number of different locations. And the debates that were held in those various locations were as deep, hot, and contentious as the ones that occurred at Waitangi all those decades ago.

Bill’s decision to spend Waitangi in Awarua is not a rejection of Ngapuhi or of others who attend Waitangi. It’s about the rest of the iwi of Aotearoa whose men and women signed the treaty 178 years ago.

The history of protest at Waitangi, and the actions of protesters in drawing attention to themselves is a feature of that part of the country. It does not and never has represented the celebrations that occur in other parts of Aotearoa.

From Ōrākei in Auckland to Awarua in Bluff and even across to the Chatham Islands, February the 6th is a day of whānau, community, and a coming together of Māori and Pākehā to celebrate an event that defines us as a nation.

If Waitangi Day is ever to be recognised as a significant national day then it needs to be embraced and celebrated around the country.

Jacinda Ardern got a lot of positive press for her five day effort in Waitangi, and may have been the catalyst for a new era of recognising Waitangi Day.

But Koroko and English have made an important point.

To really come of age the treaty needs to grow from being Waitangi’s Waitangi Day to being New Zealand’s Waitangi Day.

Will that ever happen?

 

19 Comments

  1. robertguyton

     /  February 9, 2018

    “By using our national day to engage with iwi from all over the country, we send a message that we’re serious about the spirit of the Treaty instead of being where there will be the most cameras…”

    Pfffdfffffffffffffffffft!

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  February 9, 2018

      That response just generates an “Oh, F.O.” attitude to the whole Waitangi/Treaty circus, Robert.

    • Corky

       /  February 9, 2018

      The sweet nothings spoken by Jacinda at Waitangi deserves a Pfffdfffffffffffffffffft!

    • sorethumb

       /  February 9, 2018

      Catherine Delahunty put it best when she said she sees the treaty as a way to have a new negotiation. However she meant from the world view of the radical left as they associate country-wide socialism with Maori tikanga. In fact Maori tikanga operated like tribal society anywhere (limited in range).

  2. PartisanZ

     /  February 9, 2018

    “To really come of age the treaty needs to grow from being Waitangi’s Waitangi Day to being New Zealand’s Waitangi Day … Will that ever happen?”

    Firstly, given that some rangatira from Ngai Tahu signed Te Tiriti after the Crown had proclaimed sovereignty over the entire country on 21 May 1840, effectively annexing Te Wai Pounamu, I’d really rather be informed about what English and Koraka talked about with South Island hapu-iwi and were informed of in their travels, rather than listen to them justify their actions in opposition to what Labour-led did on Waitangi Day … which I think is decidedly petty …

    What is the content of their Waitangi Day korero? I’d like to know that from Labour-led too, by the way … because Pete’s question above in quotes, or a derivative of it, is really important question …

    “To really come of age the treaty needs to grow from being Waitangi’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi to being Aotearoa New Zealand’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

    When that happens the ‘day’ will take care of itself, just as the flag will …

    That will happen when as many Aotearoa New Zealand people as conceivably possible are engaged in a [deep and possibly lengthy] process of creating a new Constitution with Te Tiriti as one of its major foundations … and then implement that Constitution …

    Until then, skirting around the issues, which is what all this palava is, will achieve very little other than, as seems to be the case with Labour-led, a shift in the psychesphere of it …

    • PartisanZ

       /  February 9, 2018

      “Petty”, by the way, is decidedly par-for-the-course from National since becoming ‘Opposition’. Petty AND ignorant, which is what Koraka’s korero is IMHO, puts them well down the leader-board regarding Waitangi …

      It’ll be a brave government who starts talking about our Bicentennial in 2040 and what we NEED to do to prepare for it in just 22 years time … Where oh where are they!?

      Meantime, next year we’re celebrating &/or commemorating 250 years since Captain Cook’s ‘arrival’ in New Zealand waters …

      And in 2022 I guess we’ll celebrate/commemorate the 380th anniversary of Abel Tasman’s ‘discovery’ of New Zealand in 1642 …?

      It’s all kinda like ‘diversion’ on this massive scale …

      • PartisanZ

         /  February 9, 2018

        “Avoidance” might be a better choice of word than “diversion” … ?

    • Corky

       /  February 9, 2018

      ”Creating a new Constitution with Te Tiriti as one of its major foundations .”

      Over many peoples dead bodies. Mine included. You must be nuts to think such an abomination could work.

      • sorethumb

         /  February 9, 2018

        Purely religious thinking: good acts have good results.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  February 9, 2018

      “…rather than listen to them justify their actions in opposition to what Labour-led did on Waitangi Day … which I think is decidedly petty …”

      They did no such thing. They acknowledged Waitaingi is a special place to be on Waitaingi Day, but pointed out the signings happened around the country.

      The camera’s comment was simply a fact – nowhere else in NZ gets coverage.

      There was no hint of disparaging Labour in what Nik Koraka wrote.

      • robertguyton

         /  February 9, 2018

        Is it Nic or Nuc and if it’s Nuc, what the ? If he’s Maori, isn’t it the case that all Maori words end with a vowel? Or is Nuc only part Maori?

        • High Flying Duck

           /  February 9, 2018

          It’s ‘Nuk’, short for ‘Tutehounuku’. He’s Ngai Tahu I believe.

          And according to Bob Jones he is not pure blooded and should be polishing cars in thanks rather than galavanting around the country,,,:-)

  3. robertguyton

     /  February 9, 2018

    Bill and his motley crew are attempting to be the centre of every story, but with Waitangi Day, Jacinda blitzed it, leaving this sort of “otherside” story that Pete, bless his soft heart, falls for every time and gives oxygen to. Bill’s washed-up and National are living in Neverland. When they wake up, shed their baggage, they might have a chance, slim though it will be, in 9 years time, to seriously contest the election. Till then, they rule only in the minds of the same folk who fell for Key’s sleight-of-hand.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  February 9, 2018

      So Waitangi Day should just remain Waitangi’s Waitangi Day. Good to see you’ve thought about it.

      • robertguyton

         /  February 9, 2018

        Should it? Good to see you’ve projected all over the issue.

  4. Patzcuaro

     /  February 10, 2018
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  February 10, 2018

      The population would be a couple of hundred thousand living on fish and kumara and would have no written language and only stone-age tools.

      • robertguyton

         /  February 10, 2018

        Yeah, coz it’s essential to eat imported Chinese pork, be able to read Kiwiblog every morning and have a Black & Decker whatsamagig or 15 in the workshop.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  February 10, 2018

          You wouldn’t be here to write fatuous nonsense via your imported technology, Robert.