Holidays Around The World for Feb. 6: Waitangi Day

Waitangi Day

A national public holiday in New Zealand, February 6 commemorates the signing of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, in which the Maori natives agreed to coexist peacefully with the European settlers. Although it was first declared a national day of commemoration in 1960, Waitangi Day was not observed as a public holiday outside the North Island until it became New Zealand Day in 1973. It was observed as such until 1976, when it again became known as Waitangi Day.

The town of Waitangi is located on the Bay of Islands at the northern end of the North Island, and the day on which the treaty was signed is observed there by the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Maoris each year.

Because of continued discrimination against them, some Maoris protested the occasion during the 1980s. In 1988 the New Zealand government cancelled the national commemoration ceremonies and has attempted to reorganize the observance in later years. But the protests continued through the 1990s and early 2000s.

CONTACTS:
Ministry for Culture and Heritage
History and Heritage Units
P.O. Box 5364
Wellington, New Zealand
61-4-471-4027; fax: 61-4-499-4490
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of New Zealand
Level 7, MED Bldg., 33 Bowen St.
P.O. Box 5640
Wellington, New Zealand
64-4-498-7440; fax: 64-4-498-7445
http://www.govt.nz
Waitangi Tribunal
Level 3, 110 Featherston St.
P.O. Box 5022
Wellington Central, New Zealand
64-4-914-3000; fax: 64-4-914-3001
http://www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 22
DictDays-1988, p. 127
NatlHolWrld-1968, p. 24
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