Reflecting NZ's bicultural early childhood curriculum, Waitangi Day is an important day to discuss and mark with children.
It is central to our country's history as it marks the signing of the country’s founding document.
The Treaty of Waitangi was signed by representatives of the British Crown and Maori on 6th February 1840 and marked a broad agreement between the two.
The treaty gave sovereignty of New Zealand to the British and allowed the Crown to buy and sell land, but let Maori keep their lands, forests and fisheries with the agreement they would have the same rights and privileges as British subjects.
In 1932 the then Governor-General Lord Bledisloe gifted the house where the treaty negotiations and signing had taken place to the nation in the hope it would become a national memorial.
This was marked by the first official Waitangi Day celebration in 1934. The day became a public holiday in 1974.
Official events are held at the Treaty House and include cultural performances, speeches and a naval salute but Waitangi Day is marked across the country with festivals, Maori cultural performances and traditional food.
Over the years Waitangi Day has often been the focus of unrest, with some Maori using it as a chance to air grievances against the Government; however most people see it as a day for reflection and acknowledgement of Aotearoa / New Zealand’s unity between cultures.
Ways to mark Waitangi Day with Children and Bring it into Your Planning and Programme
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