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Waitangi Day ‘meaningless’ says academic

Waitangi Day ‘meaningless’ says academic

Academic and Treaty expert Paul Moon has said that Waitangi Day has almost completely lost its meaning, and is now little more than a parade for politicians and protestors.

‘Surprisingly few people have a good understanding of the significance and purpose of the Treaty of Waitangi’, says Dr. Moon, ‘and yet every February, thousands of people around the country vent their opinions about the commemoration of its signing without really being aware of what treaties are and how they work’.

Dr. Moon, who is the author of two books on the history of the Treaty and who lectures on Treaty issues, believes that the behaviour of some politicians and a handful of protesters has rubbed off on how the public now perceives the Treaty:

‘The enormous irony’, he notes, ‘is that the Treaty was signed with a spirit of goodwill by both the chiefs and the Crown in 1840. Now, 166 years later, it is the object of division and endless argument. Those who participate in fuelling this division have much to answer for’, he says. ‘They are gradually eroding the public’s faith in a crucial part of New Zealand’s constitutional framework’.

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