Birthplace of a nation: New Zealand
One of the motivators for my 2012 road trip around Northland was to revisit the birthplace of New Zealand – the Waitangi Treaty Grounds – and in particular be there for our annual public holiday (Waitangi Day, 6th Feb.) that commemorates the 1840 event: but more of the celebrations in a later bog.
The house is not only historic and beautiful, but is set in lush native bush and has guided tours and cultural performances night and day. It’s been some years since I visited and my memory of walking up a grassy slope to a white house alone on the top of the small rise, and with the flagpole, is now presenting a different picture: the house and flag pole are still there but the (mostly) native trees have grown, and it was through this bush and forest, with its birdsong, I now walked.
There are many guided tours and activities including “Introducing the Birthplace of our Nation” through to a fun workshop with our native flax, and “Living with Nature’ which explores New Zealand’s native plants and trees and their relationship to Maori legend.
Naturally, there are Maori cultural performances during the day, and in the evening, a twilight show which can include a buffet dinner.
New Zealand residents have free access to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, while visitors’ tickets last 2 consecutive days. Open all year (closed Christmas Day) from 9am to 5pm, the off-peak season is from April to October so check the website for actual dates each year.
For more about New Zealand and our ‘treaty’ and national day, see our history encyclopedia website Te Ara