Queen Elizabeth Visits Waitangi
People began to gather at Waitangi several days before the great day, Wednesday the sixth of February, when Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, landed there to greet their subjects.
A large camp for Maori visitors was set up at the Te Ti Waitangi marae, close to the Treaty House. Field kitchens and more than 200 tents were provided by the Army, and by Saturday parties of visitors were arriving from all over the country.
They began as a trickle, but soon there was a flood; up to 3,000 people had been expected at the camp, but well over 4,000 came. The helpers in the kitchens worked over-time, twelve people fitted themselves into each tent instead of eight as originally planned, and room for everyone was happily found.
Then at last it was Wednesday. Everyone had been anxiously wondering about the weather, but it turned out fine and warm. By this time there were some 20,000 people there, 5,000 of them Maori: the largest picnic that Northland had ever seen. At 10 a.m. the royal white ship was seen approaching, and half an hour later Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip landed to greet the people of New Zealand.
On that morning the Queen drove ceremoniously to the Waitangi National Trust Estate, was welcomed by the Prime Minister and his cabinet, and visited the Waitangi Treaty House. But for the Maori people, the most important event in the morning was the presentation to Her Majesty of a number of eminent Maoris who represented all the districts and tribes of New Zealand. The ceremony took place outside the meeting-house on the Waitangi marae; we publish some photographs of it on pages 26 and 27.
Here are the names of the people who were presented:
From the South Island—Mr Joe Karetai, Mr Manny McDonald, Sir Eruera Tirikatene, M.P., and Lady Tirikatene.
From the Wellington district—Mr J. K. Gray, Mrs Martha Hirini, Mrs L. A. Jacobs, Mr Lui Paewai, Mr Wi Walker, Mrs Paeroa Wineera, Bishop Panapa, Mr C. W. Hawkins, Mrs Kuini Te Tau.
From the Wanganui district—Mr Metekingi Takarangi, Mrs Maiangi Marumaru, Mrs Iriaka Ratana, M.P., Mr Tame Kimi Tamou, Mrs Hana Nicholas, Mrs Hinekorangi Bishop, Mrs Rangitahi Hakaraia, Mr Titi Tihu.
From the Gisborne district—Mr George Henare, Mrs Kara Henare, Mrs Hemaima Smith, Mr and Mrs Hetekia Te Kani Te Ua.
From Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty—Mr T. Blake, Mr Paul Delamare, Mr P. H. Leonard, Mrs P. H. Leonard, Mrs Nohotihi Minarapa, Mr Iki Pouwhare, Mrs Karauria Tahuriorangi, Mrs Puihi Te Amo, Mrs S. White, Mrs Rangione Bennet, Mr Pataua Waaka.
From Waikato—Mr Charles R. Davis, Mr M. Rotohiko Jones, The Rev. Ngapaka Kukutai, Mr Te Uira Manihera, Piki, daughter of Maori King Koroki, Mr Hare Piahana, Mr Barney Raukopa, Mr Henare Tuwhangai, Mr Denis Royal, Mr Pei Te Hurunui Jones.
From Auckland, including South Auckland —Mr Sonny Kaihau, Mr Tom Kirkwood, Mr Naina Taka, Mr Reihana Tataurangi, Mr Manihera Te Kopa, Mr Timi Paora, Mrs Pera Taua, Mr Matiu Te Hau, the Rev. Waka Kukutai, the late Mr Clark Wiapo.
From Northland—Mr Ihaka Ihaka, Mrs Te Aira Maioha, Mr Michael Ngawaka, Rev. Henare Paraone, Mr Wiremu Keina Poata, M.C., Mr Mihi Tipene, Mr Mohi K. Tito, Mr Waaka Weir.
The main event of the day took place in the evening. Then the Queen was formally welcomed to Waitangi: the three ceremonial darts were thrown by the challenger (Arapeta Awatere) and retrieved on her behalf of Hone Heke Rankin, and the thunderous chanting and leaping of the haka group paid tribute to
In the speeches that followed, one theme was uppermost: the great significance to the people of New Zealand of this day, the sixth of February.
One hundred and twenty-three years ago, the most important event in New Zealand's history had taken place at Waitangi; and, as each of the Maori chiefs made his sign on the Treaty, Captain Hobson, the first Governor of New Zealand, spoke these words to him: ‘He iwi tahi tatou’ (‘We are now one people’).
The great audience assembled there, and in particular the Maori people, were very much aware of the momentous nature of that agreement, and Sir Turi Carroll, the President of the New Zealand Maori Council, in formally welcoming the Queen on behalf of the Maori people of New Zealand, expressed this in his speech:
‘Your Majesty's presence once again underlines for us the deep significance of the compact that was freely agreed to on this very spot by the representative of Queen Victoria, your illustrious great-great-grandmother, and by the ancestors of so many of us gathered here today …
‘We gladly offer today, on this anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, to renew the spirit of that compact and, above all, to reaffirm our loyalty to the Crown.
‘I am voicing the wishes and sentiments of your Maori people in urging that it should ever be remembered that the Treaty has always been the basis of the relationship between Maori and pakeha,’ Sir Turi said.
Sir Turi asked the Queen fully to ‘understand and sympathize with the desire of the Maori people to press for the embodiment of the Treaty in the country's Statutes', and said also that ‘We can conceive of no better manner in which this day can be commemorated, than for its historic significance to be marked by its declaration as a national holiday.’
The Prime Minister, Mr Holyoake, spoke of the honour the country felt that the Queen had consented to meet her people on the spot
where the Treaty had been signed, and spoke also of the great importance of the Treaty, and the spirit of the Treaty, saying that it was ‘the very core about which our life together on these islands has been and must always be shaped …
‘It is fitting that each year men and women should gather here to do honour to those whose agreement 123 years ago laid the foundations of our national life.
‘It is all the more appropriate that we do so here tonight on the eleventh anniversary of the accession of our beloved Queen to whom, in the spirit of the Treaty of Waitangi and as one people, we offer our respect, our loyalty and our devotion.’
The loudest cheers of the day greeted the Queen, when, in her reply, she made specific reference to the subject.
‘Today, before you all, I want to renew those pledges and to assure my Maori people that the obligations entered into at Waitangi go far deeper than any legal provision in any formal document.
‘Whatever may have happened in the past and whatever the future may bring, it remains the sacred duty of the Crown today, as in 1840, to stand by the spirit of the Treaty of Waitangi, and to ensure that the trust of the Maori people is never betrayed.’
The Queen said she would do her part.
‘But remember,’ she added, ‘that these pledges are given on behalf of the self-governing people of New Zealand, and her democratically elected Government. Therefore each one of you bears some responsibility to maintain the provisions and foster the spirit of the treaty.
The action song and haka groups gave really magnificent performances as they added the kinaki, the complement, to the ceremonial speeches.
It was an evening that will do much to increase the fame and mana of Maori dances and music, both here and overseas. Prince Philip was so impressed by the standard of the Maori singing at Waitangi, and later at Napier, when the royal visitors were greeted by the poi and action songs of the girls of St Joseph's Maori Girls' College, that he suggested that thought might be given to sending a Maori group to compete in the great festival of song, the ‘Eisteddfod’, in Wales.