Waitangi Day is a major public holiday in New Zealand to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi – New Zealand’s founding document – on 6 February 1840. People in New Zealand celebrates Waitangi Day on 6 February every year. Waitangi Day is observed as New Zealand’s national day due to the significant background of the event to the founding of New Zealand.
When is Waitangi Day 2014?
Waitangi Day 2014 falls on Thursday, 6 February 2014.
The Origin of Waitangi Day
The event being the background of Waitangi Day is the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by the representatives of British Crown and the chiefs of Maori on 6 February 1840. There was no commemoration of Waitangi Day until the year 1934. Formerly, most New Zealand people celebrate the founding of the country on 29 January marking the arrival date of William Hobson to the Bay of Islands.
In 1934, Waitangi Day was celebrated for the first time on 6 February although it was not observed annually. The signing of Treaty of Waitangi reached its 100th anniversary in 1940. Since then, Waitangi Day has been celebrated annually in most New Zealand areas. The name Waitangi Day was once changed into New Zealand Day and considered as a national holiday in 1974. However, the name of the event was changed back into Waitangi Day through Waitangi Day Act in 1976.
Waitangi Day 2014 Celebration
People in New Zealand usually celebrates Waitangi Day by organizing concerts and festivals throughout New Zealand. Reggae becomes the popular music played during Waitangi Day because it falls coincided with the birthday of Bob Marley – a famous reggae singer, songwriter and musician. Some people also spend their time at the beach since Waitangi Day falls on the warmest part of summer in New Zealand.
In the more formal observance at Waitangi, political dignitaries in New Zealand are welcomed to a sacred place in New Zealand Maori (marae) to hear speeches from the largest social units in Maori culture (iwi). The New Zealand Flag, Union Flag, and White Ensign are raised in the treaty grounds by the Royal New Zealand Navy at the dawn of Waitangi Day. During the day, people in Waitangi usually have church service and perform traditional dance and song. The celebration of Waitangi Day is ended with a traditional ceremony of lowering all flags being flown at the dawn by the Navy.