Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Waitangi Day (New Zealand)

“Waitangi Day is a public holiday held on 6 February every year to commemorate the signing of New Zealand's founding document - the Treaty of Waitangi - in 1840. The national holiday was first declared in 1974, and since then has grown in significance for all New Zealanders through the Māori renaissance that has fostered better understanding of the Treaty’s ramifications. Official celebrations are held at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands, Northland, but there are also many other events throughout the country.” (from

I know a New Zealander who like to describe his home as that vast country found off the coast of the small island known as Australia. The official languages are English and Maori though Samoan is also widely spoken among twenty other languages. 53% of the population identify themselves as Christian and 18% of those are evangelical.

As I’ve been reading about this day and the Maori people of New Zealand, one fact does not escape notice. “Maori” simply translated ranges in meaning, to include the concepts of  “ordinary,” “natural,” and “normal.” The sense of the word also carries the implication of, “not divine”; that is, being distinguished from gods or spirits.

Perhaps this is over simplistic, but this is a good place to begin consideration for what it means to be human. One human is not above another though we are distinguished by geography, language and culture. We share the earth. On the other hand, there is one and only one who is fully human and fully divine and it is through His finished work we are united not simply as children of our Creator, but as children to our Father.

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