Waitangi Day in New Zealand in 2020

  How long until Waitangi Day?
This holiday next takes place in 10 days.
  Dates of Waitangi Day in New Zealand
2022 New Zealand Mon, Feb 7 National Holiday
2021 New Zealand Mon, Feb 8 National Holiday (in lieu)
2020 New Zealand Thu, Feb 6 National Holiday
2019 New Zealand Wed, Feb 6 National Holiday
2018 New Zealand Tue, Feb 6 National Holiday
Commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi - New Zealand' s founding document

When is Waitangi day?

Waitangi (pronounced 'why-tounge-ee') Day is New Zealand's national day. It is a holiday held annually on February 6th to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi - New Zealand's founding document - on February 6th 1840.

Since the change in the Holiday Act in January 2014, if Waitangi Day falls on a weekend, the following Monday will be observed as a holiday.

History of Waitangi Day

The Treaty made New Zealand a part of the British Empire, guaranteed Māori rights to their land and gave Māori the rights of British citizens.

The treaty was signed in Waitangi, a town in the Bay of Islands, by a group of Maori chiefs and the British Government, as represented by Lieutenant-Governor Hobson.

The treaty was subsequently signed by other Maori chiefs in various locations throughout the country.

The Māori are the Indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, which they called Aotearoa ("land of the long white cloud"). They arrived from Polynesian islands sometime before 1300 AD. They are the first known inhabitants before the Europeans arrived in the early 1800s.

There are significant differences between the Māori and English language versions of the Treaty, and since 1840 the question of what obligations the Treaty of Waitangi placed on each side has been a subject of contention ever since.

The day was first officially commemorated in 1934 and in 1957, Waitangi Day was proposed as a public holiday by the New Zealand Labour Party in their party manifesto. After Labour won the election they were reluctant to create a new public holiday. Instead, the Waitangi Day Act was passed in 1960 which made it possible for a local region to substitute Waitangi Day as an alternative to an existing public holiday.

In 1963, after a change in government, Waitangi Day was substituted for Auckland Anniversary Day as the provincial holiday in Northland.

In the last 25–30 years the style and mood of the commemorations have been influenced by the increasingly heated debate surrounding the status of the Treaty of Waitangi in modern-day New Zealand.

To commemorate the signing, the Prime Minister of New Zealand will visit Waitangi and the Treaty House where the Treaty was signed.

Holiday pay information for public holidays in New Zealand

Did you know?

Three facts about Waitangi Day

New Zealand is home to the world’s only flightless parrot, the Kakapo.

Bats are the only native land mammals in the country. The rest were introduced by Maoris and Europeans.

The kiwi fruit is not native from New Zealand. It’s actually from China, but it was named after the kiwi bird.

More facts about Waitangi Day

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