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:
These are some of the other contenders, each of which has their pros and cons.
Which one do you like???
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.
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.