Published on 9th February 2017
Waitangi Day commemorates the signing of New Zealand's founding document and as such, is always a special day of celebration for Kiwis across New Zealand and abroad. Our volunteers across the Pacific celebrated Waitangi Day 2017 in various ways, both formally and informally.
In Cook Islands and Solomon Islands, our volunteers attended events hosted by the High Commissions in each country (see photos).
We asked some of our volunteers “As a New Zealander, what does it mean to you to celebrate Waitangi Day while volunteering overseas?”. Here are the responses we received:
"It brings New Zealanders together in a common commitment to our country and to understanding our fellow New Zealanders. Meitaki maata"
Strategic Planner & Policy Adviser
Infrastructure Cook Islands
"It’s a neat opportunity to get together with other kiwis and celebrate our country and our people. Whilst overseas it is also a time to reflect on what we miss about New Zealand or may have taken for granted now that we can’t get it readily over here-in particular pavlova, heartland potato chips, tonic water and a lack of bugs and roosters ;-). Meitaki"
Office of the Prime Minister, Cook Islands
"As volunteers in a developing country we recognise that compared to other countries NZ is paradise. Having said that and having had no say in where I was born, I feel extremely blessed to be a New Zealander and very very proud of my country. Yes, we are global citizens with global conscience, but patriotism has it’s place and on Waitangi day, singing the anthem and singing a Maori Waiata was very special at the Waitangi day event."
Margi (and Ken) Martin
Education Adviser, World Vision Solomon Islands
"Our explanation to Isabel Province colleagues was that Waitangi Day celebrates the start of the joint Maori-Pakeha New Zealand. It needed a Kiwi icon to represent the day, so Barb chose pikelets with plum jam (a rare supply of eggs made that possible). The pikelets disappeared rapidly, and the recipe is spreading through Buala homes. I guess that means we have expanded the Kiwi identity slightly beyond the All Blacks and the Haka (although the Premier did suggest a haka). Just a morning tea and pikelets brought a little touch of New Zealand home to our Solomon friends."
Lindsay (and Barbara) Gault
IT Adviser with the Isabel Provincial Government
"As a proud New Zealander it is warming to be part of celebrations with fellow New Zealanders who share the same feelings of Kiwi pride. It is always a reminder of the wonderful people working and living offshore who share their experience and talents with the world."
UNDP Solomon Islands Country Office
[Photo credit: New Zealand High Commission to Solomon Islands, Kesaya Baba, Nicola Thompson, Ken Martin]