31 March, 2013

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Today we drove about ten minutes from our camp site to enter the Waitangi Treaty Grounds considered the birthplace of New Zealand.

What was interesting to learn was that the Maori people had already drafted a constitution and been declared a nation by King George (III or VI can't remember). And the Maori Tribes had already created an official flag - the first New Zealand flag that is still recognized by Maritime Law to this day. This was all with the help of the "British Resident" John Busby. So how is it that after being declared a nation, the British Government was able to come in and basically take over? And how is it that the Maori words of this treaty talk about a "you govern your people and we'll govern our people"; but the British version says "it's all mine"? We're the translators that dense? Or we're they really that bad of translators?

Anyways, this lead to a very interesting four hours. We had a great tour that spoke of the country's history, the British influence, and we got to see a really cool waka (war canoe) that could hold 150 people and was commissioned for the centennial celebrations of the Treaty at Waitangi. Plus, we were welcomed into a traditional Maori Meeting House and invited to watch an amazing Maori Cultural Performance.

After all that we spent time with the kids completing a Treaty Grounds activity/scavenger/fact sheet and drawing four images of what they had seen.

All in all, a pretty cool day!