Waitangi Day in New Zealand Aotearoa

Waitangi Day is celebrated every year on the 6 February. It was on this date in 1840 that the first signatures, both British and Māori, were put on the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi).

Following this, the Treaty was taken around New Zealand to be signed by other Māori iwi (tribes) and hapū (sub-tribes) and by September 1840 more than 500 signatures were obtained.

What is the Treaty of Waitangi?

The Treaty is a broad agreement of principles on which to found a new nation state and build a government.

In the English version of the Treaty;

  • Māori cede the sovereignty of New Zealand to Britain;
  • Māori give the Crown an exclusive right to buy lands they wish to sell, and, in return, are guaranteed full rights of ownership of their lands, forests, fisheries and other possessions;
  • and Māori are given the rights and privileges of British subjects.1

The Māori version was meant to have the same meaning, however the translation of key words was not correct and there were differences between the understanding of those signing and those negotiating. These differences have led to much debate.

The Treaty of Waitangi takes its name from the place it was first signed – Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands.

Things to do on Waitangi Day

Although Waitangi Day is a public holiday, it wasn’t until 2014 that it was ‘Mondayised’; if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday the following Monday is treated as a public holiday.

There are any number of ways people choose to spend Waitangi Day. Some like to attend an organised event, watch the proceedings from Waitangi on TV, while others just enjoy the day off by relaxing at home, having a BBQ with family and friends, or go to the beach or the marae.

Ideas for how to spend Waitangi Day

Find out more about Waitangi Day

If you would like to find out more about Waitangi Day or the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) visit the links below:

Read more


1. https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/treaty/the-treaty-in-brief downloaded 31 January 2019

author robynWritten by Robyn Cody

Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments. She has managed to raise 3 daughters while working for Kidspot.

Favourite motto to live by: “Not my circus; not my monkeys”


  1. Alezandra 03/03/2019 at 10:11 pm

    I have enjoyed learning and reading about Waitangi. I remember my first time to learn about it at Te Papa Museum. It fascinated me how a treaty was interpreted differently at the time. And how important it is to understand fully a language without misinterpretation. It also made me appreciate the bi-cultural community we have here in NZ.

  2. kymmage 28/02/2019 at 8:25 pm

    One of the key differences between the two versions is the Maori version says the crown will protect Maori culture. And more Maori signed that one. Yet it only took about ten years before the treaty was largely seen as just a gesture and Maori were expected to assimilate into society.

  3. MuddledUpMolly 27/02/2019 at 3:55 pm

    Sadly I feel that Waitangi Day is not celebrated as it should and it seems to be more of a day for unrest and bitterness from some people. We all as New Zealanders need to learn more about the treaty. I for one learnt nothing about it until I was in tertiary study and that is so sad 🙁

  4. dawnblyth 27/02/2019 at 10:48 am

    I think to a lot of people the significance of having a day off to remember and celebrate the signing is lost. Many like it as a day off work or school. I also think that the day has become very political with politicians visiting Waitangi and using it as a threshold for voicing their views

  5. SarahBlair 26/02/2019 at 2:21 pm

    I enjoy the day off but dont really reflect on the treaty or it being signed, to me its a day to spend with my family

  6. Shorrty4life1 13/02/2019 at 12:27 pm

    Very interesting read. My kids were telling me their views on waitangi day the other day. 5year old says it’s when people became friends with each other. And 8year old said it’s something about where the land was given to the moaris and they fort for it. Very interesting views. This was a great read and very interesting. I’m studying nursing and this sort of thing is compulsory to learn so was good to see this pop up,

  7. Jen_Wiig 13/02/2019 at 12:23 pm

    For us Waitangi means 2 things… My eldest sons birthday and being of maori decent means a day if reflection honouring our tepuna and ancestors. I personally do not like or honoir the Treaty due to the mistakes made by both parties involved but do accept that its apart of schhol, work etc just wish if we are going to apply the treaty on a day to day basis it was actually adhered to… Its a nice idealism but esp in the woekplace its not always used the way its intended.
    Im glad it was Mondaynised though 😂 extra day off or long weekemd for those years where it falls on a weekend day

  8. Mands1980 06/02/2019 at 9:58 am

    One of my children still has school today so it was like a normal day getting up to get organised and the others are just at home but it’s a cold day. We visited where the treaty was signed a few years ago and found it very interesting.

  9. Bevik1971 06/02/2019 at 9:23 am

    I am currently convalescing after having my first (and won’t be the last) total hip replacement. So relaxing for me with a little walking thrown in 😁. We have our 6 year old home with us so that’s always a good thing. I’m making the most of spending time at home until my return to work

Leave A Comment