Waitangi celebrations

Tomorrow, February 6th, is Waitangi Day but many activities to celebrate that day happen in the days before. The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is spending 5 days at Waitangi this year. It was an historic day because for the first time, a female Prime Minister was allowed to speak on the marae. Traditionally, only males could speak and in 1998, the female Prime Minister, Helen Clark, was stopped from speaking. This was upsetting for her and embarrassing for members of the public. We have been accustomed to Waitangi Day being a day of protest by some as well as a celebration by others.

However, today there were no protests. Ms Ardern, in fact, said that disagreements, different opinions and protests are a sign of a country which allows free speech. This is something we should be proud of. Protesters usually remind everyone that the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 has not brought equality for many Maori. Ms Ardern said that her government would be working towards improving conditions for all, including Maori. Unemployment and poverty are some of the problems.

Public celebrations are tomorrow and a large crowd is expected.

To learn more about Waitangi Day, listen to February 6 2017 and February 6 2014 or type Waitangi into the search box.

Vocabulary

• marae – meeting house
• upsetting – to feel very, very unhappy
• embarrassing – to feel shame, to have a red face and want to hide






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