Waitangi Day: Bay of Islands, Northland – a must attend event

Tomorrow is Waitangi Day – 6th February – and all over the New Zealand people will be celebrating and, or, commemorating the day our country began its journey of two nations learning to live together. And, no doubt, for some it will be just a great public holiday.

Waitangi Day Christchurch
Wharewaka and Whairepo Lagoon. Wellington

I will be joining other Wellingtonians on our waterfront at the Wharewaka, beside the Whairepo (stingray) Lagoon – for a hangi: a tasty meal cooked in the traditional Māori way, underground. If you follow my blogs, or Facebook, you will know that’s also where I meet friends every Monday morning to leave for a walk and coffee. I plan on being there in time to take photos of the process and will blog about it in a day or so.

I urge every Kiwi (New Zealander) to attend Waitangi Day AT Waitangi at least once in their life it’s a fabulous event. (Just make sure you book your accommodation – whether it’s a hotel of campsite – early!)

A protest button I wore

I hear some people say it’s all protests and activism: my experience from spending 4 days in the Bay of Islands proved this is a false view that’s perpetuated by lazy, mainstream media. Of course, there are protests – a we are a healthy democracy – and I too have been involved in Treaty protests in the past. The Treaty is a Fraud, and Stop Treaty Celebrations we chanted as we complained that our founding document was not being honoured. Things have changed tremendously over the past years and I now love to celebrate our heritage; have we got it right, do we still have much to do? Absolutely. Are we on the right track? Most certainly.

During my only time at Waitangi, Paihia, on our national day, I saw families, tourists, and kiwi all having a great time. It was a combo of ceremony; navy, politicians, music; opera, jazz, blues, soul, Māori Cultural shows, stalls, sideshows, and of course the gathering of the ceremonial waka.

Some background: the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is the place where Māori chiefs, in 1840, first signed their agreement with the British Crown – Te Tiriti of Waitangi. In the grounds are the historic Treaty House, a carved meeting-house and the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe and of course panoramic views of the Bay of Islands.

Te Whare Runanga

Te Whare Rūnanga (the House of Assembly) is a carved meeting-house facing the Treaty House, the two buildings symbolising the partnership agreed between Māori and the British Crown and the house opened on 6 February 1940 – 100 years after the first signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Te Whare Runanga

Another important feature is the flagstaff which marks the spot where the Treaty was first signed on 6 February 1840. (it then travelled much of New Zealand and many other Chiefs signed on behalf of their Iwi. The flags that fly are the three official flags that New Zealand has had since 1834 – the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand (from 1834), the Union Jack (from 1840) and the New Zealand flag (from 1902).

Here are few photos I took a few years ago – and one day I will go there again for this unique day.

NOTE: For more information about Northland check the official tourism website and to hire a rental car in Auckland I can recommend the company I use: Rental Cars NZ.

Another day juggling in the life of the kiwitravelwriter

Some-ones best friend
Some-ones best friend

What does a planning day in the life of the kiwitravelwriter look like?

Often it feelings like juggling eggs and despite once attending a  3 day clown workshop, physical juggling is not something I’m good at despite having taught many friends the skills. (Beware the pupil who outstrips the teacher!)

However with ideas for travel, blogs, and bookings I seem to be able to keep them many in the air. A recent day saw me planning 3 trips (November, December & January) at the same time – two in the South Island of New Zealand and one an island off the coast just north of Wellington, here on the North Island: all very different.

This means some great blogs are coming up over the next few months (and in-between times I still have some amazing tales to tell, and an article, and an e-book to write, about Sabah and Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo) AND re-writing a webpage about Christchurch for a UK travel company,  while at the back of my mind is an October trip to Poland that will need sorting once I’m back from my January trip to Dunedin. I really love my life – doing what I love to do, writing and travel, a great combo.

So, if you could see this mental juggling it would be mini-globes spinning through the air while staying on their axis.

The result of the days planing means I have:

Check out the links and let me know if you have any questions about the different places so I can cover them in my blogs … or maybe you have suggestions of places or things for my to-do list.

Rental Cars New Zealand

  • If you are looking for a rental car in New Zealand, my preferred company is  Rental Cars New Zealand – I must put a note up on Trip Advisor about them
  • Thanks to  Destination Northland for their help with my itinerary too … especially with accommodation and found me places I may not have discovered without them.


just a couple of photos I like from my trip: our tree-fern and a rural message

It’s getting better and better on my Northland road trip

Is it possible that the north gets better and better? Today ( and yesterday) have been one out of the box weather wise , just as I recall the north in years gone by, and when I would tease my husband about Northland, and the Hokianga in particular, was the Texas of NZ where every thing was bigger and brighter than the rest of NZ.

Well, today I have fallen in love with the North as never before – I’m into new territory and its stunningly, breathtakingly beautiful – if you have not been it’s time to come. No wonder the TV shows The Bachelor and Top Model use the area for some of their shows!

Delay no longer – grab a  rental car from  Rental Cars New Zealand, look up  Destination Northland  make some plans and get moving – maybe stop off at the Mangonui Library and check out my book, Naked in Budapest: travels with a passionate nomad, as I just donated them a copy – I’m a great supporter and user of libraries Smile

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I’ll tell you about these places very soon … bookmark this page and come on back ,, in fact, even easier, sign up for an email when ever I blog – right now daily, but usually 2 or 4 times weekly. Now just few more pics …IMG_8863 (1024x768)IMG_9123 (1024x768)IMG_9125 (768x1024)IMG_9155 (768x1024)

My last travel piece (for a while) and plans for a road trip!

This is my last travel piece for a little while. During this ‘time off’ I’m completing an e-book about grief and suicide (Remember, I used to be a therapist before I reinvented myself as a travel writer some years ago)

But to whet your appetite for what’s to come in 2012, and with the help of Destination Northland (New Zealand) and friends, here are just some of the places I will be visiting, or staying at, or things I’ll be doing during my Northland road trip in February 2012, in a car from Rental Cars New Zealand . So check the list of links out and let me know if there is something specific you want ME to check out too.

I have to say, I’m both exhausted and excited just contemplating it all – mark this spot as this is where the stories will be.


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