On the public holiday of 6th February each year, New Zealanders of all ethnic backgrounds and creeds gather to commemorate the first signing of the Treaty at Waitangi in 1840. Waitangi Day is a generally optimistic focus for debate on national identity and multiculturalism in New Zealand, and at the Treaty Grounds a peaceful family-oriented celebration prevails.
Waitangi National Trust management works actively with the community to ensure pride in New Zealand's national day grows in the hearts of all New Zealanders.
The highest profile events unfold at Waitangi, over the Waitangi River bridge on the actual Trust estate. There are also activities and events off the Treaty Grounds at Te Tii Marae and Tii Beach - these are not part of the National Trust kaupapa. An official government schedule of activities on Waitangi Day is also published in advance.
There will be some fantastic headline acts during this Waitangi Day and Festival, and our community will generously commit its clubs, groups, performers and artists to join us.
The internationally acclaimed Royal New Zealand Air Force aerobatic and precision flying team, the "Red Checkers" will be putting on an acrobatic display on Waitangi Day.
Latest: the Red Checkers have been grounded until further notice.
Dame Malvina Major and Frankie Stevens will be performing at a concert (entry by donation) at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on the evening of Sunday, 5 February, and Cat Tunks and BlackSandDiva, whose music is infused with funk, soul, and jazz, will be playing on the evening of Saturday, 4 February (entry by donation).
Read more about the top headline acts for the Waitangi Festival Concerts on our website.
In recent years, a family festival of sport and culture during the days prior has set the tone for ever more celebratory events. This year for the third year running will include the Ki-o-rahi Waitangi Bowl, a championship Maori game now promoted internationally. Ceremony, music, sports and fun are part of the family-themed festival.
Waitangi Day itself has always involved performance and parade from the Royal New Zealand Navy and local cultural groups. In 2008 a Naval Royal Guard of Honour further dignified the commemorations and in 2009 the Navy had its greatest presence in ten years. The Navy continues to build its presence with performances by the Navy Band, Beat Retreat and Royal Guard of Honour at ceremonial sunset at the flagpole.
Also on Waitangi Day the Governor-General, Lt Gen Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, and Lady Janine Mateparae will attend a luncheon hosted by the Waitangi National Trust Board. They will then host the annual Bledisloe Reception at Waitangi, and afterwards Sir Jerry will serve as Reviewing Officer of the Royal New Zealand Navy Beat the Retreat ceremony.
Download our programme of events from our website.
For more background information on Waitangi Day, visit www.nzhistory.net.nz/Gallery/treaty/