On Jan 8th I emailed the leaders of all seven of the political parties currently in government, and also Winston Peters for good measure, and asked them if they would care to support the drive for Kiwi's to own their national holiday, to get over the bickering and fighting and laid down the challenge that Waitangi Day "is for people to own the day, and celebrate it!"
Over the past week I have heard back from five parties (National, Labour, Maori Party, United Future and Jim Anderton's Progressives) with statements of support around the idea.
For the full run down of the concept visit www.waitangiday.org.nz but for now the statements of support are below.
"Waitangi Day marks a very important day in New Zealand's history. It's a day to celebrate the unique and ambitious treaty signed by our forebears in 1840, and the growing unity between Maori and other New Zealanders in our communities. I'm proud to be Prime Minister of this great country, and I look forward to Waitangi Day celebrations on February 6."
"Waitangi Day is the day we celebrate the foundation of modern New Zealand. It reflects the bicultural foundation of our country. But it is a day for all Kiwis to come together and celebrate a country that has much to offer its people. It should be a day to celebrate ourselves and to value how really special - and what beautiful country it is. It is a country where people of all different origins live together in respect and harmony and it is a country with real potential to deliver a decent life to all its people."
The Treaty is for all New Zealanders to celebrate how we came together, and the shared values that keep us living together in peace. We all value our own histories and traditions, and with mutual recognition and respect, co-operation, and the utmost good faith, we have unity in our diversity. So gather round the barbie, and give thanks for what our ancestors have given us.
"Pat, I agree entirely with your sentiment. UnitedFuture has long held that New Zealand needs a National Day it can be proud of, not just another excuse for a holiday or long weekend. Waitangi Day is a day for all of us, whatever our background, to celebrate the greatest thing we have in common - the fact that we all live here."
"Waitangi Day for me is when we should celebrate the new New Zealand – with our diversity of culture and the development of what I call our Ngāti Kiwi nationhood.
On this day, we celebrate the uniqueness of New Zealanders – where we have all come from and what we have and can become.
It is the day on which we should, in particular, celebrate the strong and enduring relationship between Māori and non-Māori, which is the true reality of the New Zealand I love."
The challenge is now out there to you and I, to take this fantastic gift we have of living in Aotearoa, New Zealand...truly GodZone and celebrate it on out national day.