Sharples: Reflections on Waitangi Day
Tuesday 7 February
Dr Pita Sharples; Co-leader, Maori Party
"The speculation that the Maori Party is the reason that peace prevailed at Waitangi this year is flattering, but it doesn't paint the whole picture" said Dr Pita Sharples.
"There has always been peace and protest at Waitangi - as there is peace and protest at Parliament " said Dr Pita Sharples. "Indeed, the Maori Party celebrates the democratic right of protest for without it we will descend into tyranny" said Dr Pita Sharples.
"The issue around Waitangi Day is that the great majority of the country can only see a perception portrayed by politicians and reporters that looks for the spectacular".
"What was spectacular about this Waitangi Day was a reflection of the growing acceptance, belief and awareness of the significance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi to our nation".
A recent poll conducted by Sunday Star-Times/BRC revealed that 77% of people surveyed thought Waitangi Day should remain our national day, with particular support from 18-29 year olds (87%).
Dr Sharples also commented on the importance of political debate being seen as a natural activity that all people can be involved in - and not just something exclusively reserved for 'party political' forums.
"What has often spoilt our impressions of Waitangi Day is a view that 'politics' has been confined to party politics or party politicians".
"Yet, politics is as natural to the human soul as blinking is to the eye" said Dr Pita Sharples.
"We welcomed the political debates that emerged at Waitangi, knowing that politics is about all people and their desires to have this country called Aotearoa, the land where the nectar of the Gods can be savoured by all".