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Anderton celebrated Waitangi Day at Orongomai Mara

Anderton celebrates Waitangi Day at Orongomai Marae

Jim Anderton is at his 'local' Wellington marae in Upper Hutt to celebrate and commemorate Waitangi Day this year. As a Hutt resident of his 'state house', as Jim Anderton calls his Wellington home, Vogel House, he has made it something of a tradition to come to Orongomai Marae in Upper Hutt for Waitangi Day.

"I've been coming back for a few years now, and it's worth reflecting why: It's the most positive celebration of New Zealand and the best things about our unique national identity that I've come across anywhere in New Zealand," says Jim Anderton.

"It’s a day of unity. It's a day defined by the smiles on the peoples' faces, the happiness of the children, the music in the air and the food in the stalls. This is the real New Zealand where we celebrate diversity instead of fearing it. This is what our national day should be like everywhere in our wonderful country whether it be New Zealand, Aotearoa or even better, both names, side by side, together.

"There are many hard places in the world. You don't have to look far to see examples of societies that meet with indifference the most outrageous hardship for individuals, families and even children.

"One of the greatest strengths of New Zealand is that we have it in our hands to be better than that. Softness, gentleness and caring are not weakness and it's not an attitude we should reserve for special groups or sections of society we feel sorry for. It's a state of mind we should be strong and confident enough to extend to all our fellow citizens.

"We have called ourselves an egalitarian country in the past. By that we meant that we all saw that the misfortune that befell one person might strike any of us. Of course, we were always imperfect in putting the theory into practice. But the ambition was there for much of New Zealand's history.

"The message I am bringing to Orongomai Marae today is that we need to bring the ideal of a caring, soft New Zealand back into the mainstream of debate. This is a much better country than it was at the end of last century. It is even a much better, happier society than it was six years ago. Today is a good day to celebrate our progress and our uniqueness with an ongoing commitment to making New Zealand an even better country than it already is," says Jim Anderton on Waitangi Day 2006.

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