Navigation for Waitangi Day 2021

Today's Waitangi Day special programme is hosted by Mihingarangi Forbes, who is at Waitangi, together with Colin Peacock in the Wellington studio. They speak to politicians, musicians, historians and commentators from 8:00am to midday.

RNZ reporters and producers give their take on Waitangi 2019

RNZ Waitangi reporters and producers give their take on Waitangi 2019.

Greg McManus, CEO Waitangi Treaty Grounds Trust

This is the second year in a row that official Waitangi Day ceremonies have been exclusively held in the Treaty Grounds and the upper Marae. The decision was made to move all official business away from the lower Te Tii Marae as resistance grew from dignitaries about attending due to a number of incidents. Greg McManus is the Chief Executive of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds Trust, he joins the programme to talk about this year's efforts.

Common Unity: Marley’s Aotearoa legacy 40 years on

February 6th is significant to many Kiwis for another reason - the birthday of the undisputed superstar of reggae Bob Marley. His one and only visit 40 years ago had a lasting impact on New Zealand music - still playing out today.

Common Unity

Common Unity Photo: RNZ/Andre Upston

When Bob Marley died young in 1981, it was reported that an entire chain at the Whakatu Freezing works in Hawke’s Bay knocked off to attend a karakia and vigil for Bob Marley.

One reason his death was mourned so much here was the impact he made on his one and only visit two years earlier.

40 years ago Bob Marley arrived in Tamaki Makaurau where he was honoured with a wero and powhiri on arrival at Parnell Rose Gardens.  

In April 1979, already suffering from cancer, Bob and his band The Wailers played to 22,000 people at Western Springs - a gig hailed as one of the best and most influential ever staged in New Zealand.

Music historian and author Chris Bourke says it was a major cultural event, coming between the land marches of 1975 and the Springbok Tour.

There was even a movie all about it made five years ago, starring Stan Walker - Mount Zion.  

Up and coming Maori and Pasfika musicians who would become stars of the local scene were all there in 1979  - and were inspired.

15 year-old Porirua boy David Grace was given a ticket to the gig which changed his life.

"For my 15th birthday my mother’s sister and her husband bought me a ticket,” he he told TVNZ’s documentary series Give It A Whirl in 2003.

“I went to see Bob and it was like Jesus Christ coming back. From then on his lyrics put me on a different path. I’m still listening today and I hear words and phrases i didn’t hear before. He’s still surprising me, this fella,“ he recalled.   

Stir It Up – Aotearoa’s Tribute To Bob Marley cover art.

Stir It Up – Aotearoa’s Tribute To Bob Marley cover art. Photo: Askew/Universal Music

David Grace went on to start up Dread Beat and Blood, whose 1985 album Tribute To A Friend was a landmark recording.

The track Waitangi powerfully soundtracked the protest slogan of the time: “The treaty is a fraud / and we cannot afford - to lose.”

In some cases the next generation were there too that day in 1979. Reggae pioneer Tigilau Ness was at the side of the stage with his young son. The boy is now better known as Che Fu, on of the artists on the 2016 tribute to Bob Marley Stir It Up. 

Future Herbs member Carl Perkins - who died recently - was there too. His sons now carry on his Whanganui band House of Shem.  

Aotearoa’s connection with Bob Marley is carried on now by his next generation too. Last month, the East Coast Vibes festival in Gisborne was headlined by his son Julian Marley.

On arrival he and his band was honoured by a powhiri 40 years just as Bob and the Wailers were 40 years ago.

“We loved it, man. It was a great experience,” he told TVNZ’s Te Karere.

“It shows the roots of the culture heart-to-heart - a really warm welcome,” he said.

Last month’s One Love festival in Tauranga featured other son of Bob: Ky-Mani Marley who is a reggae and hip-hop artist  - as well as a Jamaican table tennis champion.

Both festivals also featured Common Unity - a roots and reggae band from Ohakune, with its members “coming all the way from the foothills of Mt Ruapehu, down the Whanganui river, out to Ratana Pā.”

Julian Marley headlined East Coast Vibes in Gisborne last month - with Common Unity on the bill too (in smaller print . . .)

Julian Marley headlined East Coast Vibes in Gisborne last month - with Common Unity on the bill too (in smaller print . . .) Photo: Photo / RNZ Colin Peacock

Common Unity's 'Ruapehu Reggae' went down well according to Tommy 'Kapai' Wilson in The Herald

"They have managed to string both cultures into a tight and very strong reggae rope, one that will hold on to their Māoritanga, while at the same time stay fresh for an organically grown fan base," he wrote.

"Uncle Bob will be beaming after last weekend's One Love Festival, as were the faces of 20,000 who paid homage to the legacy of his music," he said.

Even though Bob Marley died before many of them were born, he inspired their newly-released wiata 'So Bob Says’.

Photo: Supplied

"It's a real big deal to us. Our parents were all grew up with Bob music and Jamaican music in the late 70s early 80s“ says singer Caleb (Kayz) Lucas.

"The people around the motu who were there have seen the seeds that were sown at that concert grown into the beautiful tree we have now," he says. 

"Reggae had a big following in New Zealand pre-Bob anyway. All the way from ska to rocksteady to where we are now with the islands reggae, it's always been a part of New Zealand culture, Maori culture and Polynesian culture," he says.

Kayz Lucas says it was an honour to play alongside sons of Bob Marley at two festivals last month. 

"You try not to around people like that but it's hard not to be star-struck . . because they're like royalty," he says.

Hear Common Unity play for us here:

Rewi Spraggon, Hangi master & The Maori Kitchen creator

Today on Waitangi Day Hangi Master Rewi Spraggon shares a recipe for kai to mark the day. He also talks about bringing Hangi to Auckland's waterfront with his latest venture, The Maori Kitchen. The restaurant will be laying at least two Hangi per day and using the contents to incorporate into more modern food such as pies and sausages. Rewi's recipe for Toroi can be found here. Today if you'd like to try his food he's at Hoani Waititi Marae with his food truck.

Maori broadcasting review panel

A major review of Maori broadcasting was announced by Maori Development minister Nanaia Mahuta late last year. The first reports are due to be back before her by the beginning of next month. So far there's no sign of who's going to be undertaking the review or what's on the table. The minister indicated when the review was announced it was in order to make sure the sector was fit for purpose and future proof. To discuss what's on the line and what is hoped to be achieved through the review Mihingarangi speaks to a panel of talented broadcasters on the issue. Ebony Duff, general manager Te Whakaruruhau, Annabelle Lee, The Hui producer among many other projects and Nevak Rogers, Maori and Pacific commissioner TVNZ share their thoughts.

Mike Tana, mayor of Porirua

All over the country today events are being held to mark 179 years since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. You can find out what's happening near you here. In Porirua, for the second year running, a hugely popular festival is being held on the city's waterfront. Mayor Mike Tana is on the programme to talk about why their Waitangi Day celebrations are such a hit as well as explain what's on today's agenda. An official Powhiri will be held at 11:00am to kick the festivities off.

Denise Garland, misuse of Maori imagery in the beer industry

Denise Garland is a former RNZ reporter and producer, and is a beer writer. For the past year, she has been investigating the misuse of Maori words and images in relation to beer by international businesses. She's currently based in Scotland where she keeps an eagle eye on brewers misappropriating Maori culture to promote their drinks. Denise also explains there is usually a spike in offending material turning up around Waitangi Day as pubs and events around the world pop up to mention the occasion or promote New Zealand beers. This year there have been at least two cases in Australia which have come to her attention. One of them, Freddie Wimpoles in St Kilda has withdrawn their ad.

Andrew Little, Treaty Negotiations Minister

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little has his work cut out for him during his time at Waitangi this year. He's met with representatives of Ngapuhi and its hapu to find an alternative to Tuhoronuku. Ngati Hine hapu have told the Treaty Negotiations Minister they want to formally split from the mandate initiated nearly ten years ago. Andrew Little is live at the RNZ tent with Mihingarangi Forbes to talk about the complexities of settling with the largest iwi in the country.

Tracy Neal, update on the Nelson fires

Nelson reporter Tracy Neal has the latest on the fires in the Nelson and Tasman districts. A civil defence emergency has been declared. The fires are still burning out of control after a number of homes have been lost. Hundreds of people have either been ordered to leave their properties or self evacuated. Fire fighters from outside of the region have been brought in to assist local emergency services.

Matthew Wright, author of Waitangi: a Living Treaty

Acclaimed historian Matthew Wright explores the evolution of New Zealand's most historically significant document, the Treaty of Waitangi, from its origins to its place in the present day. His book Waitangi: a Living Treaty goes from the early cultural collisions between Maori and Pakeha that led to this landmark agreement, to the many reinterpretations that have followed. He's researched in-depth the concept that the Treaty is a living document and that its meaning and purpose has evolved with society making it just as relevant today as it ever was in history. Matthew Wright speaks to Mihingarangi Forbes about the mysteries of the original Treaty's translation and why there appears to be two versions of it.

Peeni Henare, Labour's Maori Caucus

Labour MP Peeni Henare, who is Ngapuhi has played a significant role at this year's official commemorations at Te Whare Runanga. The MP for Tamaki Makaurau has family links to both Northland and politics. He talks about his position outside cabinet in charge of the Whanau Ora portfolio.

Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister

Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First leader, Winston Peters, has been coming to Waitangi for the sixty years. The past two years have been the first time he's boycotted the lower Te Tii Marae. This year at Waitangi his party also oversaw the laying of a foundation stone for a Maori soldiers museum on the Treaty Grounds. The museum is part of the coalition agreement between New Zealand First and Labour. He speaks to Mihi about the museum and what's been happening at the lower Marae.

Simon Bridges, National Party Leader

This year National Party leader Simon Bridges has been at Waitangi for events leading up to February 6th. He took part in the powhiri for Parliamentarians for at the Upper Marae on February 5th before heading back to his Tauranga electorate to spend Waitangi Day there. While speaking during the Powhiri he spoke about dignity and peace for Waitangi in the future. Mihingarangi Forbes speaks to him about his speak and decision to be at Waitangi in the lead up to the day.

Look back at Waitangi 2018

Colin Peacock looks back at Waitangi 2018 and how the media covered a pregnant, younger female, Prime Minister speaking on the porch of the Treaty Grounds Upper. The PM herself acknowledged the event, her leadership and government were enjoying a honeymoon phase.

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has acknowledged at Waitangi that there is still a lot of work to do to bridge the gap between Maori and Pakeha. During her speech at the Upper Marae powhiri she spoke about high Maori incarceration rates and child poverty. She is positive however that enough is being done by her government to change that. Jacinda Ardern speaks to Mihingarangi Forbes about her promises and what progress she believes has been made.

How cartoonists framed Waitangi Day

Newspaper cartoonists job is to cast a critical eye on what’s going on and sum it up in images that can be understood at a glance at that time. But author Paul Diamond tells Colin Peacock cartoons about Waitangi Day and the Treaty down the years also serve as a snapshot of the past - and recent history too.

Paul Diamond with Lousia Wall MP and Ella Diamond.

Paul Diamond with Lousia Wall MP and Ella Diamond. Photo: National Library

100 years after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the New Zealand Herald carried a cartoon by long-serving artist Gordon Minhinnick.

Looking down on a Māori and a Pākehā soldier standing side by side at Waitangi, the ghosts of Governor Hobson and a rangatira agree: “I think we did well that day.”

It wasan image of harmony to mark the centenary in the nation’s paper of record the day after the anniversary. It was also a time of war in which Maori and Pākehā alike were encouraged to serve King and Country.

But some Māori  leaders boycotted the celebrations and on the day in 1940 and no less a figure than Sir Apirana Ngata said Māori had much to regret.

“What did the Māori see? Lands gone, the power of chiefs humbled in the dust, Māori culture scattered and broken,” he said at Waitangi.

23 years later on Waitangi Day, Minhinnick reprised the bi-cultural image in the Herald.

There were no words this time - not even a title - just a Maori and a Pākehā soldier were raising a flag while a Māori man with piupiu salutes them with a raised taiaha and a Pākehā bloke in a suit doffing his hat.

The flag is the Royal Standard and the Queen had just landed for a royal tour.

Another image suggesting all was still well among the races on Waitangi Day 1963?

Savaged to Suit: Māori and Cartooning in New Zealand, by Paul Diamond.

Savaged to Suit: Māori and Cartooning in New Zealand, by Paul Diamond. Photo: Supplied

In his recent book Savaged to Suit, Turnbull Library curator Māori Paul Diamond (Ngati Haua, Te Rarawa, and Ngapuhi) took on the job of interpreting Māori in cartoons.  

“I think its a message about the way the readers of the new Zealand Herald - and the editors - saw race relations at that time,” said the author and historian.  

An entire chapter of his book is devoted to how the Treaty and Waitangi Day itself has been depicted down the years.

The cartoons first crop up after the first official commemoration in 1934.

A month after the celebration that year the New Zealand Farmers’ union paper Point Blank criticised it in cartoon depicting cabinet ministers of the day in Māori dress dancing around a fire in which money was going up in smoke.

It would be another forty years before newspaper cartoons seen by a mass audience acknowledged Māori anger over breaches of the Treaty and protests at Waitangi Day.

Paul Diamond notes in Savaged to Suit the notion of “protests as a puzzling novelty gave way to scepticism and anger” in some cartoons.

“Some cartoonists tended to reflect the editorial line of the papers they cartooned for.  They reacted with bemusement and didn't engage with the content of those protests.”

Land marches culminating in hikoi to Parliament in October 1975 could not be ignored. Cartoonists confronted the issues which prompted Dame Whina and thousands more to trek to Wellington.

Gordon Minhinnick  - who cartooned for the Herald until the late 1980s - drew one featuring land marchers arriving in Wellington finding old Parliament buildings demolished as the Beehive was being built alongside.

“By golly! It was there when we left,” one marcher tells others in the cartoon.  

“This acknowledges there was a protest happening - but doesn’t engage at all with what the march was about,” he said.

“(Minhinnick) was one of the last to stop using using shorthand markers like a huia feather and phrases like ‘pi korry’ / ‘by golly,” he said.  

“It reaches back into depicting Māori as a bit silly,” he said.

But other cartoonists of the time picked up on the anger and seriousness of the protests - and what sparked them.  

Malcolm Evans  - still cartooning today - notes how Robert Muldoon (then opposition leader) co-opted the land march.  He was the first politician to meet the marchers in Wellington and one Evans 1975 cartoon shows Mr Muldoon offering to take them the last mile in his car.

On the day the marchers arrived, Wellington’s Dominion published a telling Eric Heath illustration on its editorial page.

“He’s drawn Parliament as a pallisaded pa site, besieged - but shows also the dignity of the marchers. He’s wondering what we were on the verge of. He did grasp the significance of the march,” he said.   

In the Dominion ten years later, Eric Heath’s ‘Waitangi comes to Wellington’ was a simple image of Beehive toppled Hone Heke-style by an axe.

The day before, the Treaty of Waitangi Amendment Act was passed to give the Waitangi Tribunal the power to investigate breaches of the Treaty back to 1840.

“That’s the genius of these people. They have to have a take on it within 24 hours of it happening,” he said.  

In Savaged to Suit, Paul Diamond sees “bewilderment and humour” in Waitangi-themed cartoons giving way to expressions of “Pākehā insecurity” in the 1980s

Some cartoons highlighted the flaws in the Treaty exposed by the airing of subsequent claims.  

One of the most-remembered is Tom Scott’s ‘One day my son, all of this will be ... theirs' cartoon published on Waitangi Day 1988.

Paul Diamond this was an image which did not merely reflect the editorial line of the paper - or most readers.

“There are situations where (the catroonists) think: ‘Come on people - you need to be aware of this’. But there will be other situations where they are representing what they think people on the bus and the train are talking about,” said Paul Diamond.

But until this point, almost all the cartoons people saw in their papers were by Pākehā artists and from a Pākehā perspective.

There were exceptions.

Harry Dansey - who later became a race relations conciliator - was a journalist as well as a cartoonist from the 1950s onwards.

“I am not on the outside looking in because I am proud of the blood of both races which has been handed down to me,” he wrote in a 1959 essay called Of Two Races.   

More recently Māori cartoonists like James Waarea and Anthony Ellison tackled racial issues in the pages of mainstream papers.

Paul Diamond said Anthony Ellison  - who later moved on to cutting-edge animation - clashed with editors because he refused to stereotype Māori characters and women in his images.

“That tells you something about the climate he was working in,” he said.

Image from Savaged to Suit, Paul Diamond's latest book

Image from Savaged to Suit, Paul Diamond's latest book Photo: supplied

Some of Ellison’s cartoons in Savaged to Suit cleverly address racial issues without depicting anyone at all.  

In a 1989 cartoon about the Māori Fisheries Bill an open can labelled 'worms' reveals another can labelled 'more worms', and another labelled 'even more worms' inside that.

“It exploded from the 1990s with the prominence of the Treaty and also MMP.  More Māori in parliament it put Māori issues and politicians into the orbit of cartoons.”

Current cartoonist Sharon Murdoch is one of only a handful of women of Māori heritage working in mainstream media.

So have things changed in the digital era?

“There is less stereotyping today,” Paul Diamond says.

“We have a whole different audience that won't necessarily ‘get’ the old huia feather and bare feet imagery that would have been familiar to our parents and grandparents.”   

Savaged to Suit: Māori and Cartooning in New Zealand is published by the New Zealand Cartoon Archive and Fraser Books, Masterton: $39.50