Waitangi Day, New Zealand’s national day, has come and gone.
About 200 or so protesters, some of whom were recognised as having taken part in the Occupy movement in Auckland’s Aotea Square, disrupted proceedings and offended marae protocol during the official celebrations at the Waitangi Treaty grounds.
The number of visitors to Waitangi has been declining year by year. This year roughly 25,000 visitors watched the protesters and either approved or disapproved of what took place.
Some 10,000 or so met at Bluff and discussed Maori approaches to environmental issues.
15,000 (I think) celebrated our national day with a concert in Hagley Park, Christchurch.
Another 20 to 25,000 joined in celebrations on Wellington’s waterfront.
About 40,000 (again I think) enjoyed a day out at a park in South Auckland.
However Waitangi Day and the Treaty wasn’t the only celebration held this last weekend. 250,000 people of all nationalities took part in the Lantern Festival marking the end of the Chinese New Year.
Out of a population of four and a half million these figures suggest that a lot of people stayed home / mowed their lawns / went to the beach / had a barbeque with the neighbours / read a book / yawned, put their feet up and enjoyed a day off work……..
it will be a brave and skilful politician who can heal this malaise.