In 1934 up to 10,000 Māori gathered at Waitangi for celebrations after General Lord Bledisloe gifted the Treaty House and grounds to the nation in 1932.
1960 saw the introduction of a national day to commemorate the signing of the Treaty (February 6). It wasn’t until 1974 that it became a national holiday.
The first protest on Waitangi day took place in 1971. Ngā Tamatoa organised this.
Notable protests also took place in 1973, 1979 and 1981.
These protests were not just Māori against Pakeha but rather “a clash between more conservative Māori leaders and more radical protesters.”
In 1984 a hīkoi formed and about 4,000 protesters gathered at Waitangi hoping to meet with the Governor-General of the day. They were unsuccessful after being blocked from crossing the Waitangi Bridge.
1990 saw a t-shirt thrown at Queen Elizabeth II by a young Māori woman.
This series of videos “Waitangi – what really happened” is written by Gavin Strawhan (This Is Not My Life, Go Girls ), with novelist Witi Ihimaera as story consultant, Waitangi: What Really Happened is an entertaining, colourful docu-drama about the days leading up to and including the signing of the treaty, revealing the incredible story and the characters behind the treaty’s creation.
I will share the remaining videos in my next post.