Waitangi Treaty Grounds


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As our hotel was within the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, we could simply walk to the main site for this morning’s activities. It was a delightful walk as the sun was shining and the air was full of the scent of flowers. This was when we first discovered that dogs and kiwis (the feathered kind) do not mix! There were signs everywhere forbidding dogs, as these were partly responsible for the dramatic decline in kiwi numbers. (In case you cannot remember why, kiwis can’t fly so are easy to catch!)

The Waitangi Treaty was New Zealand’s founding document.  It was signed in 1840 as an agreement between the native Maori and in the immigrant British over land rights. The Treaty was written in both English and Maori, and most of the Maori chiefs signed the Maori version, so disputes are still going on as to the ‘correct’ interpretation of these documents. The Maori were warriors and readily saw the value of trade with the intruders, but relations were not totally one-sided as the Maori became quite skilled in warfare using British weapons and techniques.


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The grounds here had stunning views, where ever you looked out towards the Bay of Islands. The Treaty House here is the 4th oldest house in New Zealand, but did not look that old; one has to remember that New Zealand is really a very young country. Being the Governor of New Zealand was not such an attractive prospect because decisions were made by others in Australia. Still, the house had a lovely garden full of beautiful roses and grape vines, and what a view!

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After explaining the Treaty and its ramifications, our Maori guide took us to see two huge beautiful ceremonial war canoes (waka) housed under a special wooden structure.

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We also watch a Cultural Performance which aimed to explain some of the Maori traditions through song and dance; this was performed with such enthusiasm and it was delightful to watch. Here are some images of the beautifully carved Meeting House, the guide and the performers after the event:

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As a point of interest, for those familiar with the haka performed by the New Zealand rugby team, you will know of the bulging eyes and sticking out of the tongue. We learnt here that only the male warriors can stick out their tongues, but the ladies are allowed to do the frightening stare as well and the men!


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« Day 3: To Paihia, Bay of Islands

Day 5: Bay of Islands »

Click here for more of Day 4 at Kawakawa, Kerikeri and the Haruru Falls


© Helen Gray 2019