If we are perfectly honest, Waitangi Day isn't significant to most.

But we all lap up the day off work or school and make the most of being with our family and friends in summer weather.

It's usually a great day. But it's not significant.

For others, including those who trek to Waitangi each year, the day is significant.


They commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and there are feelings of grief for what Māori lost.

The day should be significant. But most New Zealanders aren't that political - rightly or wrongly.

Most of us are crying out for a day when we can celebrate the fact we are New Zealanders and we live in a fabulous country among different cultures. Right now, Waitangi Day is the only public holiday we have to do that.

In Rotorua - the heart of Māoridom - it seems almost a travesty we don't acknowledge the day in a significant way.

The resurrection of the Opera in the Pā concert is a great start but we need to do more.

Waitangi Day can also be about celebrating the coming together of Māori and Pākehā and there's no better place to do that than in Rotorua - New Zealand's first bilingual city.

How about a bilingual parade like the Christmas parade, a family fun day where we can learn about the past but also have fun with the future, have game-show-type competitions where Pākehā are asked Māori questions and vice versa and a Kiwi-themed music, food, wine and beer festival.

If no one steps up to organise these events or pay for them, why not just celebrate properly ourselves? Invite friends over, eat Kiwi food and play or invent Kiwi games. Start traditions that are purely about New Zealand.


Across the ditch, Australians go all out on Australia Day and so do Americans on Independence Day. I'm so jealous of that.

Today I challenge you to do more than just have a day off.

Wrap yourself in Kiwi clothing like you've just stepped out of a souvenir shop, eat a hangi or paua fritter, do a quick quiz with your kids based on New Zealand facts and hug a mate from a different culture and say "chur bro, isn't it great we share this amazing city?".