To mark Waitangi Day, Times-Age reporter KATE JUDSON took to the streets of Masterton to ask residents what the day means to them, but found most were reluctant to open up.
It’s really grounding for Pākehā to remind us that we weren’t here first, and we’ve got to show a lot more respect than I think we are at the moment.
I am really proud and loud to be a Māori. I wish I was there, but I am not. I’ve been living over the ditch, and for me, we, the Māori people are really lucky compared to other indigenous races because we are getting back what belongs to us, even though the white man is still ripping us off. I look at the Aborigines, the Red Indians, and I mean right up to this day, their people, their babies, are still getting stolen from them.
I’m Tangata Tiriti – I am from overseas. I think it is a wonderful time to acknowledge New Zealand’s history and what the people are saying. I find it really interesting that people acknowledge the meaning of the treaty principles. Personally, I think it’s unfortunate the things that are happening over this with the politics. I am from Latin America, and ignoring someone’s past doesn’t make or create a new future; it only makes us remember the grit and the suffering of our people. I think we should keep remembering this day and also remembering our past and acknowledge people’s culture and identity.
Judy [no surname given]
As far as I’m concerned, it was a deal that they did with the Māori, and it was between the Māori and the Crown. That’s what it means. But I think it’s time they asked us to stand up with them – with the Māori – if they are going to interfere with it.
It’s when the treaty was signed, and it’s on my birthday.
It pretty much means the signing of a contract, which I reckon was a bull**** contract by the white man, but yeah, it is what it is at the end of the day. We can’t do much about it anymore. There is no point living in the past – got to keep moving forward.
In 1840, over 500 Māori chiefs and representatives of the British Crown signed what is considered to be the founding document of New Zealand. Every year since 1974, February 6, New Zealand has observed the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi as a public holiday, either on the day or the Monday following, if it falls on the weekend.