National | Education

Meng Foon repeats call for NZ Wars public holiday

Race Relations reconciliator Meng Foon says now is the time, to create a public holiday to commemorate the NZ Wars.

“It’s important part of our history, a very important part. It actually changed a lot of lives, in particularly Māori lives,” Meng Foon says.

While some may want to focus on setting a date, Meng Foon says that setting up the legislation is the next important step.

“To actually set it into stone, bodes well for our future, bodes well for our nationhood," he says.

He was happy that the PM had started conversations about another public holiday. He believes that this new holiday, combined with teaching NZ history in schools, will have lasting positive effects.

Foon notes that almost all of our public holidays are foreign in origin or are linked to foreign events. He believes that we have a duty to create a uniquely New Zealand holiday.

“Why are we doing Napoleon? The Crimean War and all that?" he says.

"Nothing to do with the history of our place, other than Anzac, that we fought a war and we commemorate our soldiers. But more importantly that we have a duty, to actually commemorate a day for our people, in terms of our history, in Aotearoa. That is the New Zealand Wars."

Foon believes that this new public holiday will help children research into our past. That's something that he says is an important part of our nationhood. He's taken up this cause because his role is to 'maintain and enhance harmonious community'.

“The most important thing, is knowing our history, knowing our culture," he says.

Commemorating the New Zealand Wars he says, will help with national healing. He says those wars were tragic, but by telling those stories, it will contribute to that harmony that he is striving for.