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Waitangi Day

6 February 2023 @ 12:00 am 11:59 pm AEDT

Waitangi Day marks the signing in 1840 of a treaty between representatives of the British Crown and over five hundred Māori chiefs. Claudia Orange explains that:

Most chiefs signed a Māori-language version of the treaty. The English- and Māori-language versions held different meanings, and Māori and Europeans therefore had different expectations of the treaty’s terms. Ever since, resolution of these differences has presented New Zealand with challenges.

Claudia Orange, ‘Treat of Waitangi’, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

In a 2008 statement on the International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Catholic Bishops of New Zealand said:

The Church may have initially been slow to recognise the injustices caused to indigenous peoples as part of colonisation, but Catholic social teaching on the rights of indigenous people is now clear and unequivocal. Ecclesia in Oceania, specifically written for our region, asked for forgiveness for times the Church had been a party to injustices done to indigenous peoples in Oceania, and expressed the support of the regional Bishops for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In statements on the Treaty of Waitangi (1990 and 1995) and Indigenous Peoples (1993), we have affirmed the Church’s commitment to work to resolve historic injustices and to reconcile peoples.

A Statement from the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference on 10 December 2008.