Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The REAL New Zealand Day

There are suggestions to move our national day to Anzac Day.
As our current NZ Day (*sigh* call it Waitangi Day, if you must!) slides further into a mire of maori dissatisfaction, more and more kiwis want a national day that actually feels all-inclusive.
Waitangi does not, and has not for years. It's become increasingly a native bitch-session, an opportunity to push the boundaries of civil disruption, disrespect authority and advocate separatism.
Anzac Day however has a respectful solemnity, a quiet remembering, a grateful acknowledgement of service and sacrifice. The steadily climbing attendance figures point to its growing importance in the NZ psyche.
A weekend TV current affairs discussion reached the consensus that Anzac Day was evolving quite naturally into a de facto national day, because of all the problems up at Waitangi. It celebrates nationhood - something the current day has failed to do for decades. But our PM does not favour any change, in either date or emphasis.
Some say our Trans-Tasman rivalry is artifical bedrock for the Anzac legend, that it's more a playground dislike of each other, which we only temporarily set aside when a bigger bully tries to take over the sandpit. If so, isn't that part of "brotherly love"?
If a change happens in the future, Anzac Day already has all its nationalistic ducks in a row: where else can you find white and brown NZers side-by-side against a common foe?
Journalist Richard Long feels a better idea would be Dominion Day (Sept.26), which marks the 1907 move away from 'colony' status. A problem with that is that most of us either can't remember Dominion Day or even what "the dominion" was! Re-education would take too long and basically mean force-fabricating a national feeling for that day. If the govt couldn't create an obvious national holiday to mark the loss of Sir Edmund Hillary (one of our greatest sons), there's no way it'll wind back the clock for Dominion Day.
Mind you, Richard Long was writing his article in The Dominion Post newspaper (the antecedent of which commenced publication on Dominion Day 1907), so perhaps, just perhaps, there was an ever-so-slight bias showing...


Timespanner said...

I don't feel all wonderfully patriotic about either Waitangi Day or Anzac Day. One is just the marking of the signing of the Treaty which (despite the warts shown by later history) was at least a start. Anzac Day is an Australasian day as much as anything else -- me, I prefer Remembrance Day, 11 November, when the war ended, but we've fairly well cast that to the shadows in this country. The Aussies have their issues over Australia Day, but there's no serious talk there of shifting things around. I'm all for leaving things be. Apart from making Waitangi Day and Anzac Day proper, transferable public holidays, which neither is at present.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month...still marked in Britain, I believe.
If Waitangi is left as it is, then the only way for it to become a true CELEBRATION of all things NZ is to somehow stop the aggression over the treaty.
Should we do what the govt did a few years ago, and move the commemorations AWAY from that contentious northern property? If maori are just bitching at empty space, if TV doesn't give them publicity, won't they soon shut up?
NZ needs to move forward, not be shackled by the constant demands of those who live in the past.