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Dunne’s Aotearoa New Zealand Day Bill

23 March 2000


United New Zealand Party leader, Hon Peter Dunne, is delighted his Member’s Bill to establish a new national day has been drawn to go before Parliament.

The Bill, titled the Aotearoa New Zealand Day Bill, (copy attached) proposes renaming Waitangi Day as Aotearoa New Zealand Day.

“Sadly, the divisiveness of recent years means that for many New Zealanders, February 6th has become a symbol of the things that divide us, rather than a day which brings us together and genuinely celebrates our cultural and ethnic diversity.”

“It is time to rekindle the vision of Norman Kirk and establish February 6th as a day on which every New Zealander celebrates with pride and confidence the unique gift we all possess by virtue of being New Zealanders.

“This Bill is a bold and timely statement about our country’s modern, multicultural status, and I believe it will be strongly supported by New Zealanders.”

“This Bill is a chance to put the division of recent years behind us, and to start viewing our nationhood positively.”

“It is long overdue,” Mr Dunne says.

An important feature of the Bill is its proposal that Aotearoa New Zealand Day be “Monday-ised”, and held on the Monday of the week in which February 6th occurs.

“I think it is important that the day be one which encourages celebration, and is not disruptive to business and schools by occurring on different days every year.”

“One of the best things about Waitangi Day this year was the variety of ceremonies that occurred over the weekend it was held.”

“Having our national day on the same weekend every year should encourage even greater celebration and diversity,” he says.

“I would love to see the Bill become law this year,” he says.

The Aotearoa New Zealand Day Bill is expected before Parliament on April 5th.



Explanatory Note

Contemporary New Zealand is becoming an increasingly diverse nation, culturally and ethnically.

It is vital that, as a modern multicultural nation, New Zealand recognises its diversity through
a designated national day, to which all sectors of our society feel able to contribute.

This Bill proposes that Aotearoa New Zealand Day be celebrated on the day presently known
as Waitangi Day, February 6th.

However, to ensure that the fullest range of commemorative celebrations can take place, and also to acknowledge the particular significance of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the Bill proposes that Aotearoa New Zealand be regularised and held on the Monday of the week in which February 6th falls.

The Bill also repeals the Waitangi Day Act 1976, meaning that the weekend of Aotearoa New Zealand Day would be the only occasion on which the national day commemorations took place, and that there would no longer be any separate celebration for Waitangi Day.

Hon Peter Dunne


Member’s Bill

1. Title
2. Commencement
3. Act to bind the Crown
4. Aotearoa New Zealand Day to be a day of commemoration
5. Observance of Aotearoa New Zealand Day
6. Repeals and savings

The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows:

1. Title
This Act is the Aotearoa New Zealand Day Act 2000.

2. Commencement
This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal Assent.

3. Act to bind the Crown
This Act shall bind the Crown.

4. Aotearoa New Zealand Day to be a day of commemoration
In commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on the 6th day of February 1840, and to celebrate New Zealand’s national identity, the 6th day of February in each year shall be known as Aotearoa New Zealand Day.

5. Observance of Aotearoa New Zealand Day
Aotearoa New Zealand Day shall be observed as a public holiday throughout New Zealand on the Monday of the week in which it falls.

6. Repeals and savings
The Waitangi Day Act 1976 is repealed.

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