Waitangi day or New Zealand day? United Future calls for a change

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Treaty of Waitangi version in the museum on the Waitangi grounds.

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The Treaty of Waitangi signing.
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New Zealand political party United Future has called for Waitangi day to be changed back to New Zealand day, as it once was.

Waitangi day is on February 6, each year and celebrates the Waitangi signing of New Zealand's founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi).

Honourable Peter Dunne, leader of the United Future party, has said that the recent celebrations of Australia day has shown that New Zealand really does need its own celebrations of that kind. "Across the ditch, Australians celebrate a day that is about one thing only – the celebration of their country and of being a citizen of that country."

However co-leader of rival political party, the Māori party, Doctor Pita Sharples has said to 3 News, that Waitangi day is very important, and if we need to have a New Zealand day, then that needs to be something different.

Dr Sharples has also called for more respect in terms of what the foundation of Waitangi day is and educating the public that the Treaty of Waitangi is a positive thing for New Zealand.

However, Peter Dunne said: "There is no doubt the Treaty of Waitangi has an important place in New Zealand’s history, but having the Treaty the centre and indeed holding the naming rights for our day of national festivities, just politicises the day and invites unnecessary racial tension."

Sharples also says that there is no point in looking across the Tasman at what Australia is doing because we have our own identity, own founding document, our own nation. Thus, we should go forward together.

Peter Dunne said: "The timing is right for New Zealand to actively and positively advance our national identity – starting with a new national day." He claims quite a lot of support for a change to the name in 2008.

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