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Waitangi Day in New Zealand

Waitangi Day commemorates the first signing of New Zealand’s founding document – the Treaty at Waitangi in 1840. It is a public holiday in New Zealand on February 6 each year.

A haka is performed by Maori warriors as part of a Maori welcome or 'Whakatau'.
A haka is performed by Maori warriors as part of a Maori welcome or 'Whakatau'.
©iStockphoto.com/EdStock

What Do People Do?

Māori cultural performances, speeches from Māori and Pakeha (European) dignitaries, and a naval salute are all part of the official Waitangi Day celebrations at Waitangi, New Zealand. Waitangi Day is also a time when people publicly debate on issues such as national identity and multiculturalism.

Various activities and events are held at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It’s a day that bubbles with ceremonies, music, sports and fun. Waitangi Day itself has always involved performances and parades from the Royal New Zealand Navy and local cultural groups.

Public Life

Waitangi Day is a statutory public holiday in New Zealand. Schools, government offices and many businesses are closed.

Background

In 1840, representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Maori chiefs signed what is New Zealand’s founding document. The day was first officially commemorated in 1934, and it has been a public holiday since 1974.

Symbols

The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are home to 2 national icons:

  • 'Te Whare Runanga', a carved Māori meeting house that commemorates the first signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Carvings in the house were produced by the local Ngapuhi tribe, but the building is represents all Māori tribes.
  • Ngatokimatawhaorua, one of the largest Māori waka (war canoe). It can seat a crew of up to 80 paddlers and 55 passengers.

Waitangi Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
SatFeb 62010Waitangi DayNational holiday 
SunFeb 62011Waitangi DayNational holiday 
MonFeb 62012Waitangi DayNational holiday 
WedFeb 62013Waitangi DayNational holiday 
ThuFeb 62014Waitangi DayNational holiday 
FriFeb 62015Waitangi DayNational holiday 
SatFeb 62016Waitangi DayNational holiday 
MonFeb 82016Waitangi Day observedNational holiday 
MonFeb 62017Waitangi DayNational holiday 
TueFeb 62018Waitangi DayNational holiday 
WedFeb 62019Waitangi DayNational holiday 
ThuFeb 62020Waitangi DayNational holiday 

Quick Facts

On February 6 every year, New Zealanders celebrate Waitangi Day, a national holiday to commemorate the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document.

Waitangi Day 2018

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Waitangi Day 2019

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

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Name in other languages

NameLanguage
Waitangi DayEnglish
Waitangi Day (Nationalfeiertag)German
Waitangi-dagenNorwegian

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in February 2019 in New Zealand

United Nation Holiday on February 6, 2019

Fun Holiday on February 6, 2019

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