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“Waitangi Day has been colonised” says Maori leader

“Waitangi Day has been colonised” says Maori leader

Ngapuhi leader David Rankin, whose ancestor, the Paramount Chief Hone Heke was the first Maori to sign the Treaty, claims that Waitangi Day has become colonised in recent years. “Its meaning has been sterilised”, he says. “It should be called Picnic Day rather than Waitangi Day”.

Mr Rankin believes that the Government has taken away the true cultural significance of Waitangi Day, and is critical of the way that the Crown dominates proceedings: “The whole day is loaded with symbols of colonisation, especially the naval presence – representing the same navy which in 1845 massacred our people in the Bay of Islands”.

Even Hone Harawira (who Mr Rankin calls by his birth name of John Hadfield) has come in for criticism. “Our incumbent MP has been reduced to the role of a shoe-shine boy, while the Prime Minister when he visits the marae looks as comfortable as a vegan at a barbeque”.

“Maori need to regain full control of Waitangi Day”, says Mr Rankin. “It should be run by Maori, for Maori, and if Pakeha want to be involved, they will be able to, but only on our terms. After 173 years of colonisation, it’s time to turn the tables”.


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