Saturday, February 11, 2012

A New National Day?

Calls for a new National Day to celebrate New Zealand's identity as an independent nation...
The Newmarket Business Association in Auckland says the Treaty of Waitangi was "essentially a truce with an occupying power" and not the founding document of a unified nation. So it's suggested three possible dates, each with its own significance for the country, to be recognised as 'our own Independence Day'.
Sept.19th commemorates the 1893 granting of the vote to women, making ours the first country in the world with a completely universal democracy. The second date, favoured by the Assn's CEO Ashley Church, is Nov.26th, the day in 1907 when we were granted significant autonomy from Britain - this was called Dominion Day, but isn't celebrated these days. And the third suggestion is Nov.25th, the date of NZ's full autonomy in 1947.
Mr Church says the Treaty does not underpin NZ's identity as a sovereign state, and "was primarily concerned with recognising Maori as British subjects, and acknowledging the governing role of the parliament in England".
Of course, to many kiwis today, the suggested dates mean little at all: these events are not taught in NZ schools and rarely seen on calendars. Many feel Anzac Day would be more appropriate. That solemn day marks the 'blooding' of NZ forces at Gallipoli and other battlefields, and the real awareness that we were a separate entity to The Mother Country.
This is a discussion that will continue for years to come, the govt.adamant that no change is imminent. But certainly something must be done to ensure any national day is more peaceful and celebratory than what's been happening over the last few decades...

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