Friday, February 6, 2009

Waitangi Day

It’s a big day here in enzed (NZ). Waitangi Day and the start of the Rugby 7s tournament in Wellington. The sevens is subtitled the country’s biggest party. I don’t think it usually happens around Waitangi Day and if it has, I would have been more interested in the Sevens. The crowd at the Sevens celebrates in a way I would love to see Kiwis celebrate their national day – with a free spirit and a passion for what they love. Waitangi Day celebrations haven’t really been a celebration for yonks, but this year there is a change. I know ‘change’ is a bit of a hackneyed word in recent times, it’s been used big time in the States (and with good reason as far as I can see) but we here at the lower end of the earth have also been embracing it. It seemed to me, watching telecasts from Waitangi this morning that Aunty Helen’s oppressiveness has gone (for those not in the know, Helen Clark our former PM).

I was honestly astounded to see, in an interview, a happy, laughing Pita Sharples, the co-leader of the Maori Party. And that Titewhai Harawira, that battle hardened, outspoken activist for the best part of 50 years, also looking relaxed and smiling. Never thought I would see the day when I would agree with her. To prove it, I have just checked the spelling of her Christian name instead of calling her that Harawira woman like I usually do. That’s what happens when the parties (and I don’t just mean the political parties) talk to each other. And Pita Sharples coined what I hope will become a new phrase - “time to clean up the river.” I loved that!

Now I really must get back to watching the Sevens. The USA has already beaten Fiji so you never know, there might be another upset or two.

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