Named after the place where it was first signed in the Bay of Islands, on the 6th February 1840. Te Tiriti (The Treaty) was signed between representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Māori Rangatira (chiefs/leaders) from across the country.
It guaranteed Māori tino rangatiratanga (independence / chieftainship) over their lands and estates, forests, fisheries and other treasured assets. As well as equal rights to all.
Since the signing of the treaty, successive governments took actions resulting in the loss of Māori land and language, and the decline of Māori economic, social and cultural wellbeing.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Māori renaissance saw a public push for greater recognition of Māori rights under the treaty.
As a result, in 1975 the Waitangi tribunal was established to hear claims of breaches of the treaty.
Since then, treaty settlements with the New Zealand government have gone some way to make economic, social and cultural recompense back to Iwi (tribes).
Today, Waitangi Day means many things to many people.
On the 6th of February, New Zealanders everywhere have a day to reflect on our country’s history, celebrate Māori performing arts, entertainment, culture and language, and spend time with family and friends.