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Waitangi Day: Back To The Drawing Board

Waitangi Day Fiasco Means It's Back To The Drawing Board

United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says it has to be back to the drawing board for future Waitangi Day celebrations after what he describes as the "fiasco" of this year's event.

"The Prime Minister's vacillation over whether she wanted Waitangi Day to be mainly a commemoration of the signing of the Treaty or a more inclusive multicultural celebration left everyone confused and meant that in the end it was neither."

"This was the most disappointing Waitangi Day of recent years, and simply left New Zealanders more uncertain that ever about the meaning of the closest thing we have to a national day."

"We cannot afford a similar fiasco next year," Mr Dunne says, "otherwise Waitangi Day's emerging status as just another holiday to spend at the beach will be confirmed."

Mr Dunne wants Waitangi day to broaden its focus and become New Zealand's national day, to celebrate our emerging multicultural diversity.

"We ought to be promoting a genuine multicultural celebration on February 6th - starting from the Government House ceremony in Wellington, which should be an unashamedly inclusive multicultural ceremony instead of the tame genuflection towards the Treaty it has become."

"That major event in Wellington should be attended by the Prime Minister, and should be the official focus of Waitangi day as a day to bring all New Zealanders together."

"Obviously the events at Waitangi will always be important for their historical significance, but they should be seen as one element of the overall day's events."

"Waitangi Day failed this year because the Government was afraid to say what it wanted - it talked about a broader multicultural focus, while trying to keep a strong Maori emphasis."

"The lesson from all this for next year is that we cannot have it both ways."

"Waitangi Day in the future must become an all-embracing day for contemporary New Zealand to celebrate what being a New Zealander today really means, otherwise it will not survive as a significant day for most people," Mr Dunne says.


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