If Waitangi Day truly carried the significance for New Zealanders as the media presents it, instead of its reality, namely another paid holiday off work, then it would manifest itself accordingly with celebrations across the land. It does not. Instead a bunch of victims who by dint of their political career ambitions, feel obliged to turn up at Waitangi. There they adopt day long funereal expressions and walk very slowly behind fat people on to the marae where then are accosted by fat semi-naked men waving spears in their faces and poking their tongues out at them.
Following that massive embarrassing spectacle comes the real horror, namely sitting listening gravely to endless tedious platitudinous speeches, many in a language few present understand.
I have not the slightest doubt that every politician present would gladly exchange that tortuous day for a severe flogging.
Were it otherwise former attendees such as past Prime Ministers Palmer, Bolger, Shipley, Clark, Key and English would continue to attend and likewise other office-holders who hitherto felt obliged or with military personnel, were forced to attend.
Good Lord, not even Jacinda made it this year and she’s only a couple of weeks free of the Prime Ministership. Obviously she would deny it but I’d bet 100 to one she lay in bed that morning chortling with her husband at being free at last of this nonsensical burden.
In fairness this can also be said of many other statutory public holidays such as the ridiculous provincial holidays despite provinces being abandoned over a century ago as administrative regions, Labour Day, a foreign monarch’s birthday and so on.
Exceptions are New Year’s day, New Year’s Eve parties being common-place, Easter, celebrated solely by the fast declining Christian population and Anzac Day which in recent years has for no apparent reason had a minor resurgence in public ceremonial participation. In that respect New Zealand and Australia must be the only nations on earth that celebrate a military defeat. Imagine France celebrating Waterloo or Japan Hiroshima.
The obvious standout widely celebrated public holiday is Christmas day, albeit now totally stripped of its original religious raison d’être.