It was a party that may never be forgotten by those who remember it.
They came from all over Finland and as far away as Italy, Estonia and Spain to celebrate. They came wearing Swandris dusted with snow, bearing gifts of ginger crunch, pavlova and Lindauer.
In the end - despite all indications to the contrary - they did not number in the thousands.
The inaugural Finnish Waitangi Day was instead an intimate affair, attended by thirty or so close friends, acquaintances and neighbours with nothing better to do.
It was undeniably a success.
With the heating turned up, we New Zealanders amongst the crowd enjoyed the opportunity to walk around in jandals and singlets for the first time in six months, eating pavlova and hearing foreign accents wish us a happy Waitangi Day. It was like having a second birthday party.
The non-New Zealanders seemed to enjoy themselves as well, smiling a lot, while no doubt thinking that we were rather quaint in a please-don't-tell-me-anything-more-about-your-country sort of way.
Along with stories from home, we shared tales of hardship in a foreign land. Walking through snow in jandals is apparently not much fun, and nor is baking in a foreign country.
For a start, I discovered that making the pavlova is not as easy as it seems when someone else is making it.
"Mix four egg whites and sugar" the recipe casually states, but provides no detail as to how one actually acquires these egg whites.
My first three attempts at separating egg yolk and white from the fridge ended in messy disaster, and as far as I could tell, they don't sell them separately in Finnish supermarkets. But then, I was barely able to identify any of the necessary ingredients.
After spending half an hour walking between aisles squinting at pictures on packets I felt like a needed a degree in linguistics rather than a page from the Edmond's cookbook.
Finding cornflour alone took two shop assistants and a kindly old woman. For your information it is called "maissitärkkelys" in Finnish. Obvious when you think about it.
Even with only whipped cream to apply to the cooked meringue, the ordeal was not over.
As experts know, to make the pavlova as fresh as possible one should delay this final step until the last possible moment. So, still not dressed and with guests about to arrive, I began mixing the cream.
"You'd better hurry up" Sanna yelled from the living room ten minutes later, "my friends are almost here."
"I know that" I shouted, louder than necessary, "It's not my fault stupid cream in stupid Finland takes so long to beat."
At this point the Sanna came into the kitchen with a strange look on her face and read the empty cream carton. Apparently, in Finland there is a type of cream that cannot be whipped. I wondered if the kindly old woman did it on purpose as Sanna ran to the shop.
But the impediments to our celebrations were not restricted to cooking.
One of the guests was a Kiwi called Fraser. Fraser left his email on a recent blog asking if I wanted to have a drink on Waitangi Day, so I invited him and his Finnish wife to the party.
As a true patriot, earlier that day Fraser had flown a New Zealand flag from the flagpole outside his building.
Imagine the poor man's horror, when only minutes after hoisting his flag he discovered that someone had run off with it.
After making some phone calls he discovered that it had not been stolen by Finnish teenagers or confused Australians as he assumed, but by local authorities. Apparently it is an offence to fly a foreign flag in Finland, unless a Finnish flag is flown alongside it.
At the party, both Finns and foreigners agreed that this was heavy-handed - although the point was made that perhaps such sensitivity is understandable in a country which has only been independent since 1917.
Another possible explanation was that the Government official took offence to the flying of the New Zealand flag on what was the National Day of the Sami people, who inhabit the far north of Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia.
We found it hard to imagine someone losing their flag like this somewhere as laid-back as New Zealand.
I recall my Father's story of going to work early one morning and seeing that the Department for Courts was flying the New Zealand flag upside down. Apparently in flag language this signifies distress.
With a phone call he discovered that the problem at the Department was not so much distress as early morning sleepiness. With this in mind it seems unlikely that the Department for Courts would punish someone for waving the wrong flag.
It was not until long after everyone had gone home, when I was reading New Zealand papers the following day, that I discovered that we weren't in fact so casual about flags.
It turns out that much of the inevitable controversy surrounding Waitangi Day this year related to the flying of the Maori Independence flag from the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
I saw that perhaps we were taking the whole issue of the confiscated New Zealand flag the wrong way.
Rather than see it as a challenge to the New Zealand flag's validity here, we should consider it a successful first step to establishing the new event on the Finnish calendar.
After all, it wouldn't feel like Waitangi Day without some controversy.
- Matt Kennedy-Good
Pictured above: Me, Anna Delany, Christopher Knox, Fraser and Craig Purdie with our pavs and ginger crunch. Photo / Matt Kennedy-Good