Our first full day in New Zealand was February 6th, which happens to be a national holiday: Waitangi Day. It was on this date, in 1840, that the Maori people signed the Treaty of Waitangi, ostensibly making New Zealand part of the British empire, affording its people the same rights as other British subjects while guaranteeing Maori rights to their own land.
Although similarities have been drawn to treaties signed between the Native Americans and those who claimed their land, the politics of Waitangi Day are not the subject of this blog. (However, we did visit the Treaty House on the 7th — after the crowds thinned — and found it fascinating and mostly accessible. And that will be a future post.)