Waitangi Day

February 6th – Waitangi Day.

  I guess the closest  I could get to comparing  what this might be like is the 4th July.  However, I think our national day has been more a day of discord and dissention than I have ever heard that 4th July is.  It marks the day that the Treaty of Waitangi  – considered to be New Zealand’s founding document  – was signed in 1840.

The issues arise from the fact that the treaty in its Maori and English versions does not seen to say quite the same thing, so the Maori chiefs that signed were not agree to quite what the English signatories were agreeing to, on behalf of Queen Victoria.

This year, there were no protests at the official celebrations at Waitangi, as there often are.  So that’s a good thing. The debate this year seems to be mostly taking place in the media, and focussing around whether New Zealand needs to change  our flag.

At present this is our flag:

Current New Zealand flag

Flying the flag


These are some of the other contenders,  each of which has their pros and cons.

The 'Maori' flag

The 'Maori' Flag

Original United Tribes Maori Flag

Original United Tribes Maori Flag

Based on our famous Silver Fern

Which one do you like???


Flags on display

For your average Kiwiw today wasn’t spend arguing about flags though.  It was probably spent in the sun somewhere, at a  beach or a barbeque, hanging out with family & friends.

We went to the local Waitangi Day Picnic that the District Council and  the Lions Club put on. Free bbq and hangi and icecream for the kids.

Dinner is almost cooked!

Unfortunately we didn’t stay long enough for the hangi – I guess that is the slight disadvantage of cooking your meal in a hole in ground is that it’s a bit unpredictable as to when it is ready.  It’s a pity because I wanted to take a picture of the food  for you all. The hangi is the traditional Maori way of cooking – the basic principles are dig a hole in the ground, full it up with a fire to heat up the soil and specially selected rocks. Once the fire has almost burnt out the ash is removed and the prepared food is put in the hole. Some hot coals and the rocks remain and soil is quickly piled on top so that there is minimum escape of heat.  Now days the food – pork, chicken, lamb, kumara, potatoes, pumpkin, cabbage – is wrapped in foil and muslin cloth and placed in wire baskets in the hole.  In traditional times leaves and woven baskets were used.  The food is partly baked by the hot rock, partly steamed by the water tipped on the rock and sack used to cover them, and partly partly pressure-cooked.

 There were other entertainment – music, things for the kids, some craft stalls and just the chance to hang out in the sun.

A young Matador

You didn't know we had Rhinos in NZ did you!?

Lining up for food

Musicians performing

Time to just hang out.

The day was also marked for us by picking our first wild blackberries, and making a blackberry & apple pie.  Yummmmmm.

First Blackberries, Last Raspberries

Pie by Chef PB


5 responses to “Waitangi Day

  1. Sounds like a fun day! I like NZ current flag & colors 😉 That pie sounds tasty!! that way of cooking food sounds interesting.

  2. I would guess that the food has a better chance of being cooked all the way through in the hangi than if it was BBQ’d. Not so likely to be undercooked on the inside and incinerated on the outside.

    As for the flag….hmm…the Union Jack in any form is like a red rag to a bull for most Scots. I think its relevance is historical, not contemporary. I like the design of the Maori flag but I would like to think the new flag would cross over both islander and western cultures. Don’t know the origins of the fern so don’t know if that covers both. Aaaargh I’m trying to think at 11.13am on a Sunday morning…. 😦

  3. Happy Waitangi day!
    Looks like great fun.

    Honestly, I’m quite ignorant as to your country’s history. Will have to read up a bit. All I know is that Brittan was involved.
    Changing flags does help by giving a visual change that citizens can relate to and sort of flip the mind switch that things have changed – although personally I don’t like your alternative choices much. (Esp not the All Blacks lookalike. j/k)

    Will the public get to have a say in the choice though??

  4. I like the Maori flag myself. It is different but slightly similar to a lot of other flags. The way of cooking the food sounds really interesting and I would love to see it done myself.

  5. I liked the rhino. I also liked the Maori flag.