New Zealand’s national day, Waitangi Day, is observed each year on 6 February and commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Māori chiefs in 1840. Locally, celebrations were held on Saturday, 2 February. Today in the Assembly I thanked the local Tumanako Māori Cultural Group for hosting the event and Mr Isaac Cotter, chairman of ACT Māori Performing Arts Incorporated, for inviting me to participate.
New Zealanders in Canberra play an important role in our culturally and linguistically diverse community. It is important to remember that New Zealand itself is also a wonderfully diverse place, with its Māori and British roots having been enriched over the years by migration from virtually all Pacific Islands and from many other overseas nations. I was especially happy to see local community and performance groups providing a full day of entertainment at this delightful outdoor event.