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Jim Anderton Waitangi Day 2004 Address

Jim Anderton Waitangi Day address

at 11am 6th February 2004

Progressive leader Jim Anderton

SPEECH NOTES, Waitangi Day address

Orongomai marae, Lower Hutt 9.30AM Friday, 6 February 2004.


I always enjoy coming to Orongomai marae on Waitangi Day.

The celebrations here are an example to the country.

It's a day where the whole community is positive.

It's a day of unity.

It's a day where we recognise that the bonds that tie us together as a community are strong and valuable.

It is a day when we recognise we are a diverse community, and that our diversity gives our nation strength.

When the music plays here and children enjoy the performances, those happy faces are an expression of New Zealand.

When the New Zealand community comes out to enjoy the sports and entertainment of this day, when we celebrate diversity instead of fearing it, that is a symbol of the real New Zealand.

I like the metaphor of New Zealand being a rope made out of the strands of our communities, binding us together, not separating us.

Our national day should be spent enjoying the people and experiences that make us proud.

Because it is Waitangi Day, you have asked me to give a personal perspective on the Treaty with a view to celebrating it.

I want to talk, also, about our unique identity as New Zealanders. That identity is linked to the treaty.

A lot has been said about the Treaty recently, and particularly about its potential to divide us.

I guess many things in life have the potential for both good and harm.

My view on the Treaty is that we should honestly face - and deal with - the issues, which could potentially harm us, whilst at the same time maximising the aspects, which are valuable.

Today, I am going to concentrate on the positive. That reflects my personal pride in the mixture of Maori and other cultures, which make up the distinct and unique face of New Zealand.

That mixture is what makes us different ? when young kiwis go abroad, what is it that they offer to the world which is culturally different?

Australians abroad sing Waltzing Matilda - and good on them.

Kiwis tend to do the haka.

In London or New York, kiwis KNOW that they have a shared identity which is in part Pacific, which is in part of Maori and in part it is European. That blend makes us unique.

I do not see the Treaty, and the bonds it has fostered, as being all about Maori identity, Maori protection, Maori this or Maori that.

I see the Treaty as being about OUR identity as New Zealanders. I think we are in the process of creating a new Pacific people.

We are, I believe, becoming a new tribe ? I think of us as Ngati KIWI.

I believe that in a hundred years, people will look back on this period and say:

"That was when New Zealand really forged its distinctiveness, in language, culture, song, dance and film" - What New Zealander would not recognize ourselves and be proud of the story told in the film Whale Rider?

"When New Zealanders finally began to truly recognise their extraordinary creativeness in business, their ability to solve problems, their capacity to work well with people from anywhere." ? The time when we started really celebrating our uniqueness.

I believe that in a hundred years, people will look back on the early part of this century as the time when we found our identity in a globalising world.

That identity ? ngati kiwi ? will be the rope made from the strands which make us both distinctive and unique.

Over the next year, I am going to talk about this theme more fully. Our future, I'm sure, will embrace the Treaty and reject separate development.

It is a future where Maori aren't expected to blend into some sort of amorphous grey mixture but where we all share and take pride in what makes us different, what makes us, ngati kiwi.

Our identity is defined by the values we hold dear, the freedoms we enjoy, the opportunities we provide to our young and by the talent we foster.

It's defined by the choices we make about how we live with each other.

Our unique Treaty is a statement that we intend to live together ? all of us ? peacefully and with goodwill.

The value of the Treaty is its rejection of division, of conflict and of intolerance.

Very few Kiwis today would reject the notion that there have been breaches of the Treaty's promises, and that those need to be acknowledged and dealt with ? as soon as possible.

But we cannot face the future with confidence and a sense of security about ourselves as New Zealanders based on the suggestion that all our history has been of injustice.

We cannot have or be victims forever. We need to acknowledge, fix, and move on ? together.

It sounds simple ? and it is.

The challenge is for us to do it ? together.

One way, is in economic development ? we can, and must, unleash the talent and creativity in all our communities, and in particular in our Maori and Pacific peoples; not just in music and arts ? or on the sports fields -- but in business, in science, and in every field of endeavour.

Our economic prosperity depends on it. New Zealand will have no high quality economic or social future or success unless Maori and Pacific peoples also have high quality economic success.

We are the most creative nation on Earth.

It's probably because we are far from the rest of the world, we have the freedom to try things out.

Our cultural heritage and our present diversity make our creativity unique in the world.

Uniqueness is valuable, because it can't be copied.

In my economic development portfolio, our focus is to build on our uniqueness and turn it into jobs, incomes and opportunities.

We set up a design strategy that will take New Zealand design to the world.

We have set up a music industry export group, to take the sound of New Zealand to the world.

We have helped the film industry make movies here and take our stories to the world.

We need to celebrate our cultural expression, in design, in music and in film.

I have high ambitions for New Zealand culture as an expression of our shared identity.

I am confident that our talents, our lifestyle and our stories are good enough to not only survive ? but to flourish.

I am confident because we live in a unique country, with unique freedoms and opportunities.

This Waitangi Day let us reflect on the joy of living in a country where free and open access to all of our common land is guaranteed to all New Zealanders.

A country where all citizens enjoy freedoms and opportunity, irrespective of income or title or caste, religious or tribal affiliation.

A country where a child from a poor family has the same freedoms and opportunities as a child whose parents are endowed with every advantage.

A country of opportunity, where freedom and equality flourish in a world of much larger countries riven by class and conflict.

A country where anyone is free to walk down the street, without asking permission, in peace and free from threat.

A country where thousands of native species, birds and plants, are free to flourish in pristine forests and harbours.

A country where anyone is free to walk in national parks, and alongside the oceans and see the land as it has always been.

These are precious freedoms.

They are keenly felt by New Zealanders as very practical freedoms from which is derived our unity as New Zealanders.

A country where races freely mingle in harmony, where diversity is strength, newcomers are welcomed and our heritage is respected.

A country where talent and creativity are free to flourish and success is celebrated.

A country of enterprise and initiative, where communities work in partnership with each other and value everyone for what they have and what they contribute, instead of crushing some for what they lack.

Neither 'something for nothing' nor 'every person for himself or herself'.

A country that asks its citizens to give more and offers the opportunity for doing better.

This is the New Zealand we can aspire to be.

It is a future within our reach..

As we look around this marae on Waitangi Day we have so much to celebrate.

We have so much to do.

And we have such riches to work with.

We should celebrate;

We are, after all, a new people, built of our past, growing together into our future, celebrating the Treaty ?

We acknowledge the distinctiveness of all the Maori hapu and iwi in this country

And we should acknowledge the distinctiveness which is creating a new people from that heritage - Ngati kiwi.



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