National | Waitangi Day

Covid fears cancel 2021 Waitangi Day Treaty Grounds commemoration

The 2021 Waitangi Day celebration held at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds every year since 1934 has been cancelled.

The Waitangi National Trust announced that decision today, with the effect of the decision being that politicians, among others, won't be able to debate the issues of the day in the north to start the year, as they usually would.

Waitangi National Trust chair Pita Tipene said the board, which met yesterday was concerned about the world and Aotearoa.

“In the end, we decided our health is paramount so we've cancelled face to face meetings for Waitangi Day.”

Tipene said he knew some businesses in Paihia would struggle because normally from the end of January to February 7 about 30,000 to 40,000 people visit the Bay of Islands. “So a lot of people won’t be there.”

But he said some may be relieved their small town won't be bombarded with visitors.

Tipene says the trust is looking at alternative ways to celebrate Waitangi Day and the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, particularly the commemoration of the 200th year in 2040.

“Even though that's a while off we're looking at how our discussion can be held over computers and television so those voices can be heard.