Celebrations are all over New Zealand today to mark 2020 Waitangi national holiday. The annual festival is a family-friendly event and a unique opportunity for tourists to appreciate the birth of New Zealand. As a wrap-up to series of activities that began on Monday evening, official celebrations were held today at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands. The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern led the opening prayer at the Treaty Grounds this morning.
It is 180 years since the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi – The Treaty of Waitangi, on February 6, 1840 by Maori chiefs and the British Crown. The Treaty granted the Maori people the rights of British Citizens and ownership of their lands and other properties. The national holiday was first declared in 1974, and since then has grown in significance for all New Zealanders.
Royal Family celebrates with New Zealanders
The Royal Family took to twitter to join New Zealanders in commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Photo shows the Queen wearing Maori Kahu-kiwi.
Harry and Meghan also took to Instagram to send warm wishes to New Zealand to mark Waitangi Day. Their message was written in both English and Maori languages. It reads in part, “As a commonwealth country and a realm, today we honour the spirit and diversity of New Zealand, and we feel particularly reminded of the special time we had there during our tour in 2018.”
Every year on February 6, tourists, entertainers,
historians and people from all walks of life gather to commemorate this
historic signing of New Zealand’s founding document. Visitors enjoy a tour
around the Museum of Waitangi and the country’s best cultural performances and
entertainments. The fun family day out is free
from smoking, alcohol and fizzy drinks.