Waitangi Day in pictures

New Zealand’s national day — Waitangi Day — marks the signing on February 6, 1840, of a treaty between the British Crown and about 40 northern Māori chiefs. Almost 180 years later the Treaty of Waitangi‘s meaning, and what the two sides understood they were signing up to, is still fiercely debated. What is certain is that the ink was barely dry before the treaty was broken. 

For that reason Waitangi Day is a complex, sometimes confrontational celebration, disparaged by conservative commentators who’d much prefer the flag-waving and fireworks of Australia Day or the USA’s Independence Day. However, Waitangi Day at Waitangi — the small town near the top of the North Island where the signing took place — is a vibrant, colourful, contradictory, welcoming and immensely enjoyable celebration.

It’s also a photographer’s dream. I’ve been covering Waitangi Day as a reporter and occasional photographer since 2010, so I thought it was time I chose a few of my favourite images. You may see how Waitangi Day is changing; hopefully you’ll also see progress in my photography. Enjoy!



3 thoughts on “Waitangi Day in pictures

  • February 9, 2019 at 3:04 am

    really great to see so many of your fantastic Waitangi Day pictures. Well done Peter ! You are improving although you have made many great shots over the years. But you seem to be getting more confident in getting closer to the subjects ( esp important people ) Every year some were my favourites, Keep
    it up !

  • February 10, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    Hi Peter, Is it possible to get a couple of the picture of my late husband who passed away April 5th 2017. He’s the one holding the two hoe. His name is Paora Mano.

    • February 11, 2019 at 8:35 am

      Hi Ebbie, so sorry to hear Paora has passed away. I only knew him from meeting him on the beach on Waitangi Day, but I thought he was a lovely man. I’d love to send you the photos I have of him. I will email them to you tonight.
      Ngā mihi nui,
      Peter de Graaf


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