Editorial: Day for Kiwis to rejoice

By Greg Taipari

Waitangi day should be taken as a day to celebrate our great country. Photo/File
Waitangi day should be taken as a day to celebrate our great country. Photo/File

It's our most controversial public holiday and can spark some pretty lively debates - Waitangi Day.

For some, like myself, it's a day to celebrate our great country, to remember the past (good and bad) and look to the future. It's a day to acknowledge our Pakeha and Maori whakapapa (genealogy).

Others, again Pakeha and Maori, see it as a day to remember all the grievances of our past.

Many see the Treaty of Waitangi as a get-rich-quick scheme for Maori and a document which favours only Maori. This couldn't be further from the truth. It is a founding document for our country which helps acknowledge the role of Maori as kaitiaki (guardians) of our whenua (land).

We cannot deny that wrongs were done to Maori and while those wrongs will never be put right, the document helps acknowledge them and give some healing towards what happened.

Sure, some will say that those wrongs were in the past and we as "New Zealanders" should get over it. But that is too simplistic and not fair on those who even today can trace their whakapapa back to certain events which now live in infamy.

For example Tuhoe, like many iwi, have past grievances.

I am not Tuhoe but know offamilies whose great-grandparents suffered injustices by the government of the time and the wounds are still raw. To ask them to simply forget it is wrong.

Waitangi Day should be used to acknowledge our past and continue to build this great nation.

- Northern Advocate

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