Celebrating Waitangi Day
Lindi Sprenger, New Zealand specialist, explains why she loves the historic Waitangi area of New Zealand’s North Island – and why you should visit this fascinating place where Maori and western cultures meet.
One of my ultra-favourite places in New Zealand lies in the heart of the Bay of Islands Waitangi is known as the birthplace of the nation, and is arguably the most historically significant part of the country. If you are planning a visit to the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’ then the best starting point for your holiday is undoubtedly the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
“This is now a place of great peace and has a real connection with Maori…”
The history of Waitangi Day
On 6th February 1840, the founding document of New Zealand – the Treaty of Waitangi – was signed between the pakeha (Europeans) and Maori chiefs, under the watchful eye of Governor William Hobson, Queen Victoria’s representative. Today there are celebrations at Waitangi and across the country to commemorate this historic event.
Nowadays, Waitangi evokes a wonderful sense of peace and tranquility, far removed from the fierce and intense Maori battles of long ago. Evidence of these can be seen in the picturesque village of Russell where musket ball holes are still visible on the old weatherboarded walls of New Zealand’s oldest church, Christ Church (built 1835-6).
The views here are simply spectacular and worthy of as much time as you can spare. This is now a place of great peace and has a real connection with Maori and so, to experience Waitangi in all its glory, I would recommend that you join a guided tour of the historic Treaty House with its delightful heritage gardens and the beautifully carved Maori Meeting House, Te Whare Runanga.
Don’t miss the Maori cultural performance which is always immensely moving and sometimes utterly spine-tingling. So when you are planning your New Zealand holiday, please make sure you include a visit to this very special and captivating part of this wonderful country.
More historic sites to in New Zealand
We will be delighted to include a free VIP Pass allowing you entry to one of the properties featured in New Zealand’s Historic Places Trust, including Kerikeri Mission Station or Pompallier Mission and Printery in the Bay of Islands.