Friday, 8 February 2019

Celebrating Waitangi Day

Waitangi Day 1934

The first ceremonies to be held at Waitangi in 94 years were held over two days 5th & 6th February 1934.

“The weather did not cooperate in the three days leading up to the celebration, it rained and was accompanied by an easterly gale, that made conditions very uncomfortable”. Marquees had to be taken down at the encampment where members of the various tribes assembled prior to the morning of the first ceremony. First to arrive were some 238 Ngati Porou, to pay their first official visit to the peoples of the north.

Ngati Porou were welcomed by “tattooed Nga Puhi warriors, clad in piu piu and carrying kio kio”

“…a chosen team of 70 Wahine joined the warriors and performed a haka…. Then it was the turn of the local maidens to give a haka, during which Mr Apirana Ngata joined in for a short time”

“… after the haka and waiata, Mr Tau Henare welcomed the visitors, the other speakers included Te Riri Mihi Kawiti a descendant of Hone Heke’s fighting general”

“… the new bridge over the Waitangi River, giving access to the estate by road is now unofficially opened and the regulation of motor traffic throughout the celebrations will be monitored by the ‘Automobile Association’

The Governor-General Lord Bledisloe with his wife and their party sailed on the Government steamer ‘Matai’ visiting two lighthouses and will arrive at Kawau to watch the Royal Yacht Squadron’s regatta, and will arrive at Russell on ‘Saturday’ night.

On Monday 5th February 1934 “performers from all tribes present will take part in welcoming the Vice-Regal and Parliamentary party to Ti Point, some 5000 took part”.

It is reported that there were 8000 people assembled on the Marae. “Action songs, past and present, were contrasted in offerings from the Gisborne and Rotorua parties.” Te Arawa sent some 300 people to take part.

Part of Lord Bledisloe’s Speech  “…That the Maori race should have signalled their modest gift to the people of New Zealand of the adjoining estate – the cradle of the nation – by these anniversary celebrations was characteristic of their unswerving loyalty to the British crown, and was a gratifying testimony on their part to the sincerity of British honour and integrity… “

Part of the duties of Lord Bledisloe was to gift to the people the ‘Treaty House’ and land.  On the following day the ceremonies were transferred across the new bridge to the Treaty House.

With thanks to the Daily Post (Rotorua Post) for the above information.  Please ask at the Heritage and Research help desk for access to the full articles. Printed in the Rotorua Post 3rd Feb 1934 pg5 and 6th Feb 1934 Pg.’s. 4 and 6.

Treaty House at Waitangi with a group of people, including Lord and Lady Bledisloe, standing outside it. Ref: 1/2-030468-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22645424

For more information about Waitangi Day click here

This Blog Post is compiled by Alison.

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