What does Waitangi Day mean to you?
“In 2016 I think it’s an opportunity for us as a community to come together and look at issues, to be kind to each other, to perhaps share with each other,” says Henare Kani, one of the organisers for the day’s event at Te Manawa. “We can share the Maori world.”
On 6 February, that sharing is precisely the goal of Te Manawa as it hosts the city’s Waitangi Day celebrations.
The whole Te Manawa precinct, from the Globe Theatre to the Convention Centre, will come alive with a rich cross-cultural cornucopia of music, activities and theatre. There’ll be puppet shows, stalls to shop at, and our ever-popular “participation stations”.
There’s even room for a little learning.
“I think the key message of the Treaty is one of respect, equity, fairness and hope,” says Henare. “It’s worth planting those kinds of seeds.”
Growing up, Henare’s understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi was one of protest, but since the sesquicentennial in 1990 his perspective changed. “Over the years I’ve found the biggest thing the Treaty’s done for me is give me a strong drive to serve my community. It reminds me of the responsibilities we have as a society – to look for the common good, but also to bring forward the values that are inherent in Maori culture.”
So if you’d like to know more about the Treaty of Waitangi, or immerse yourself in Maori culture, or just have a fun day out, we would love to see you at Te Manawa.
Rob Mildon arrived in New Zealand in 1839, and began writing for Te Manawa shortly thereafter