I hope everyone’s weekend is finding them well! We’ve had an awesome weekend so far… including farmers markets and making honey (!)… but you’ll have to wait until my next post to hear about all of that.
This past Wednesday was Waitangi Day, an important part of New Zealand’s cultural history. On February 6, 1840, the English settlers and the Maori tribe chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi. The point was that the Maoris and the Crown would live in harmony thus forth….
Waitangi Day celebrations started in 1934, and it has been a public holiday (ie: no work!… unless you’re in nursing) since the 1970’s. Many folks see it as “New Zealand Day” where everyone just celebrates being from New Zealand. Several of my patients described it to me like this. Being on the south island, there is a much smaller Maori population, and especially in Christchurch. For us, this may lead to a smoother Waitangi Day. Every year in Waitangi (on the north island) the official festivities are held, and the events have a less peaceful reputation. Historically, it has become a day of protests and sometimes violence, instead of festivities. I heard that Waitangi Day 2013 went pretty well though. Only minor “drama”, as they like to say here.
|New Zelanders gather at the Treaty House
Anyways… we figured we would try and seek out some Waitangi Day fun. After attempting to go out to breakfast on a day that the entire nation has off (fail), we headed to Hagley Park, my favorite place for spotting flowers and ducks. Hagley park is huge, and we figured if Christchurch was having any official Waitangi Day celebrations, we’d find them at Hagley.
Oddly, not a festivity to be found. Luckily we brought bread, and learned that ducks can jump.
They also become quite friendly when there’s bread involved. Especially the good stuff.
So it was a day of peace making between the people and the ducks. As for the cultural experience we attempted to find… maybe we’ll have more luck on the next NZ holiday, which is probably next week.
I’ll do my best to take pictures of things other than ducks. But no promises.