Friday, February 06, 2009

Waitangi Day 2009 - Message from the New Zealand Prime Minister

Hon John Key, New Zealand Prime Minister
Today we celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi 169 years ago.

As well as being a special time for New Zealanders to be with family and friends, Waitangi Day is a chance to pause for a moment on our long journey of nationhood – to look back on the path we have travelled, and to cast our eyes ahead to the next turn in the track, the next river to be crossed, the next ridgeline we must climb, and the bright, promising land that lies beyond.

The Treaty recognised that New Zealand was a nation of two peoples: Maori – the people of the land, whose culture and rights deserved respect and protection – and those who came to New Zealand in search of a better life.

More importantly, in my mind, the Treaty was a promise – that these two peoples would work as one, building their futures together, and walking at each other’s side.

Sometimes that promise has not been kept. Sometimes we have argued about where we are going, which path we should take, and how fast we should walk.

But all the while our journey has continued. And along the way we have started to build a real partnership where, together, we can feel a sense of achievement and pride in our magnificent country. A partnership of people who can see the very best in each other and know that the very best lies ahead of us.

This Waitangi Day, we pledge again our commitment to that partnership, to carry on our journey together, walking side-by-side and building a nation that is rich in culture, strong in diversity, and great in promise for all who call it home.

Best wishes for the year ahead.

Hon John Key
Prime Minister

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