Covid reshapes Waikato’s Waitangi Day commemorations: online services and individual reflection encouraged
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Major events usually held at the Treaty of Waitangi site and Te Tii Mara have been moved online (file photo)
The Waikato region is gearing up for a reshaped Waitangi weekend, with many popular and vibrant gatherings from previous years suspended or held online.
Major Waitangi events, usually held in Paihia at the Treaty of Waitangi site and Te Tii Marae, have gone live and, for the first time in four decades, Tauranga Moana in the Bay of Plenty will hold a service online at dawn.
Regardless of the disruptions of planned events, people are invited to reflect and discuss the meaning of Te Tiriti and its history.
In Ngāruawāhia, the Kiingitanga has a long-standing close relationship with the Waitangi National Trust, but describes the movement’s relationship to the actual Te Tiriti document as one of “ups and downs”.
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Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has said Northlanders should continue to encourage people to get vaccinated and responds to the cancellation of Waitangi Day 2022 celebrations.
This is mainly because the Māori monarchy has always had the position of mana Māori motuhake – Maori sovereignty and resistance – which they say are not represented by the treaty.
Chief of Staff and Private Secretary to the Maori King Ngira Simmons said Kiingitanga would share kōrero and commemorations largely online.
“This year, as we were last year, we intended to travel north to Waitangi with Kiingi Tūheitia at the invitation of the Waitangi National Trust, but we cannot do so again this year. .
“We don’t think it’s entirely safe to hold an event, we have in the past held smaller events in the Waikato area.
“We will encourage all of our people, wherever they are, in their safe homes, to reflect on Waitangi, what it means and the bi-cultural partnership and relationship that the Treaty of Waitangi offers only in Aotearoa,” said Simmonds.
February 6, particularly at the historic treaty site, marks an opportunity for Maori and non-Maori to come together and for Maori to share their concerns with government.
One of the most contentious issues in 2021 was the rollout of vaccination for Maori, leading to health professionals and providers calling out the government for having a disproportionate impact on Maori.
But Simmonds said Maori are very good at holding the government to account regardless of the circumstances.
“Many iwi have strong relationships with the government, regardless of color.
“I think iwi is capable of continuing to challenge and we do.
“I think the government needs to continually think about how it lives up to te iwi Māori while we are overrepresented in incarceration statistics, underrepresented in positive health and educational achievement,” he said. -he declares.
More locally, in relation to Te Tiriti partnerships between Maori and local government, in 2021 Hamilton Council unanimously agreed to install two Maori ward seats on the council, giving rise to opportunities for taking decision-making for Maori and the wider community.
Mayor Paula Southgate said it was an important step and the right thing to do.
“Two Maori seats are a very small step in the right direction… having Maori seats means Maori will have a vote around our table and can shape and influence the city.
“It takes nothing away from the others, who still retain their right to be represented. I think Maori seats will not just represent Maori, but will represent the wider community, as we all do,” she said.
Southgate said the council’s contribution to the Waitangi Weekend commemorations would be through social media and story sharing.
She said Waitangi is a very important event and the local government must give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
“Unfortunately big events are not scheduled due to the red status of the Covid frame…So now we have to look for other ways to celebrate our history and build on that.
“It is also a very positive opportunity to reflect on our shared history and to remember, of course, that the history of Maori in the Waikato and in Hamilton goes back 700-800 years.
“It’s about understanding how we give effect to the Treaty of Waitangi and also remembering our obligations, but also, as I said, sharing the positive stories we have in common.”
Kiingitanga to Host Facebook Chats and Tauranga Moana Waitangi Day Dawn Service will be broadcast live from 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 6. The livestream can be accessed here.