Welcome to Waitangi Week on VICE

What does Waitangi Day mean in 2017?

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02 February 2017, 4:44am

We're not going to pretend we have all the answers. Waitangi Day is—rightly—a day of complex emotions. Is it a day of celebration? Conflict? Protest? Joy? Pain? Pride? Or as many people say, "just a day off".

Here on VICE from February 2 to February 8 we're exploring the significance of Waitangi Day through a series of articles, a video and a live panel discussion. 

A quick recap, Waitangi Day commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on February 6, 1840 between representatives of the Crown and more than 40 iwi chiefs. Copies of the Treaty were taken around the country and in the end about 540 chiefs gave their agreement. The Treaty's foundation principle is one of partnership. But, not all iwi in the country signed. The English and Māori language versions of the document differed. The signing was followed by years of Treaty breaches by the Crown. Land confiscation. Conflict. Fast-forward 177 years and it's undeniable that in many areas socially and economically, Māori aren't on a level playing field. There's still a lot to talk about.

We spoke to young New Zealanders for a VICE Asks video about what Waitangi Day means to them. Watch out for it later in the week.

And if you're around in Auckland on Sunday, February 5 come to our free panel discussion "Talking Waitangi Day in 2017" at Golden Dawn in Ponsonby. Our panel will be moderated by Liam Ratana and features Khylee Quince (law academic), Precious Clark (managing director Maurea Consulting) and Sam Te Kani (artist).