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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.

Is Waitangi Day a Public Holiday?

Waitangi Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

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'.

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.


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.


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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010SatFeb 6Waitangi DayNational holiday 
2011SunFeb 6Waitangi DayNational holiday 
2012MonFeb 6Waitangi DayNational holiday 
2013WedFeb 6Waitangi DayNational holiday 
2014ThuFeb 6Waitangi DayNational holiday 
2015FriFeb 6Waitangi DayNational holiday 
2016SatFeb 6Waitangi DayNational holiday 
2016MonFeb 8Waitangi Day observedNational holiday 
2017MonFeb 6Waitangi DayNational holiday 
2018TueFeb 6Waitangi DayNational holiday 
2019WedFeb 6Waitangi DayNational holiday 
2020ThuFeb 6Waitangi DayNational holiday 

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