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Waitangi Day Address 2009

Issue date: 
Monday, 9 February 2009

The Governor-General, Hon Anand Satyanand, has urged New Zealanders to celebrate their nation’s achievements in his annual Waitangi Day address.

Delivered at a reception at Government House Auckland today, the Governor-General highlighted New Zealand’s achievements and its achievers.

“But it seems right that today we should celebrate all our achievers and their efforts.  From the humble to the mighty, they are the foundation of what makes our nation and our people special.  Whether consciously or not, New Zealanders can draw strength from the principles embodied in the Treaty.

“Waitangi Day is the day when New Zealand as a modern nation was born – and the day when two peoples—Māori and Pākehā—came together in peace to bring something new to life.”

The Governor-General said debate about the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi had led some New Zealanders to feel despondent about Waitangi Day.

“Some talk of “commemorating” the signing of the Treaty – as if Waitangi Day was a day of mourning.  Others have sought to find an alternative day on which to celebrate the founding of our nation.”

The Treaty was a “positive force” that had enabled New Zealanders to establish one of the world’s most enduring democracies, he said.

That positive force has seen New Zealanders achieve greatness in the sciences, business, the law, sport and literature, music and the creative arts, he said.

“Waitangi Day is our national day – and a time for us to celebrate all we have individually and collectively achieved as a nation.  This does not mean we should deny the past.  Nor does it mean we should not lessen our collective efforts to address the legacy of the past.”

For further enquiries contact: Antony Paltridge, Public Affairs Officer, Government House on 021 470 583

Last updated: 
Monday, 9 February 2009

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