Violence forces NZ to scrap Waitangi ceremony
Wednesday 25 October 1995
The New Zealand government yesterday scrapped the annual national-day celebrations at Waitangi after violent demonstrations by Maori extremists this year. The 6 February celebration, a public holiday, is supposed to mark the coming together of Maoris and Europeans, who signed the Treaty of Waitangi, the nation's founding document, in 1840.
Chiefs of 46 Maori tribes signed the treaty, which ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria in return for guaranteed "full, exclusive and undisturbed" possession of their lands. In recent years militant Maoris, campaigning under the slogan "The treaty is a fraud", have mounted increasingly angry protests at Waitangi Day celebrations, demanding return of land confiscated over the past 150 years. In 1990 a demonstrator threw a black T-shirt at the Queen, who was attending the celebrations during a royal tour.
At this year's ceremonies protesters tried to set fire to the Treaty House, the country's most historic building, spat at the Governor-General, Dame Catherine Tizard, and trampled the New Zealand flag. The celebrations were terminated when protesters ran up a Maori independence flag and police told the Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, they could not guarantee his safety.
Yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister, Don McKinnon, said next year's celebrations would be held under strict security at Government House in Wellington and be barred to protesters.
The announcement drew claims that the government had caved in to Maori radicals. "The government has shown gutlessness and has surrendered to a few spitting, flag-stomping thugs at Waitangi by shifting the ceremony to the security of the Governor-General's mansion," said Mike Moore, a former Labour prime minister.
A Maori MP, Tau Henare, said: "The event has mana, the event has spirituality. The treaty was signed at Waitangi. Waitangi Day should be at Waitangi." Pita Parnone, of the Tai Tokerau tribe, which hosts the Waitangi celebrations, said the tribe wanted government representatives there in February so that it could apologise for this year's demonstrations. "I thought the government would have the steel to return, what with its ongoing talk of partnership with the Maoris."
The announcement came 10 days before the Queen, who arrives in here on Monday, is due to sign legislation giving land and cash compensation to the Tainui tribe for land confiscated by the Crown in 1865. The Bill includes, for the first time, a formal apology to Maoris.
Dennis Rodman will coach the North Korea basketball team
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Jennifer Lawrence: 'It should be illegal to call someone fat on TV'
Ian Watkins: Police probed over earlier allegations as paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Paul Walker death caused by speed alone
Devyani Khobragade: India-US row escalates over arrest of diplomat in New York
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 4 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >
£300 - £400 Per Day Extensive Benefits Package: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£41250 - £46500 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Could YOU be Achi...
£500 - £550 per day: Cornwallis Elt : Business Analyst Target Operating Mod...
£10 - £12 per hour: Pro-Recruitment Group: An opportunity has arisen within th...