Waitangi Day

Bad weather today meant that only about 6,000 people attended Waitangi for the celebrations. In the past, 30,000 or more people have attended. Rough seas also meant that the beautiful waka, the war canoe, from the Treaty grounds was taken out of the water. It was not safe for the crew or the important waka.

Click here to see the ceremonial waka. Note that 76 men are needed to paddle this waka.

As usual, there was protest yesterday and today but mostly a peaceful protest. A large group from Northland was protesting about deep sea drilling for oil in the Far North.

However, one thing that was not usual was that three Maori women spoke on the marae. Traditionally, only men could speak on the marae and in 1998, when the leader of the Opposition, Helen Clark, stood up to speak, Mrs Harawira refused to allow her. Mrs Harawira said that the first woman to speak on the marae must be a Maori woman. That happened today, 16 years later. Mrs Harawira was given the opportunity to speak but she chose Annette Sykes who is a Maori, a lawyer and a woman who has always been a strong supporter of the rights of Maori. She spoke about the important role of women like Mrs Harawira and the need for women to be better represented outside the kitchen.

Listen to February 6th 2013 to hear more about Waitangi Day.


  • crew – men who paddle the canoe
  • ceremonial – only used for ceremonies, not used at other times
  • traditions – actions that are passed down from generation to generation

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