Monday 6 February 2012: Waitangi Day
Today is Waitangi Day and a public holiday. For those blippers who are either not New Zealanders, or unfamiliar with Waitangi Day, this is what you will find on the New Zealand History Online website:
Every year on 6 February, New Zealand marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. In that year, representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Maori chiefs signed what is New Zealand's founding document. The day was first officially commemorated in 1934, and it has been a public holiday since 1974.
For some people, Waitangi Day is a holiday; for many, and especially for Maori, it is the occasion for reflecting on the Treaty. Since the 1970s the style and mood of the commemorations on Waitangi Day have been influenced by the increasingly heated debate surrounding the place of the Treaty in modern New Zealand.
Waitangi Day is recognised as New Zealand's national day, but the long-standing tensions associated with it are always likely to surface in one form or another. The date is an important marker in the country's history. Recognition of the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi as the nation's founding document will continue to encourage leaders, communities and individuals to mark the day in new ways.
It was a beautiful, sunny day here in Nelson but it had rained a little overnight, so when I looked out onto the deck this morning I was struck by the way in which large drops of water had formed on the table. I think they had dripped off the shade sails overhead, and for a moment at first I thought they were frozen, they looked so perfect. I like the way in which the weave of the blue canvas table cover underneath is magnified in the drops, while the overhead beams of the deck are reflected in their surface..... if I were feeling clever I could no doubt come up with some analogy surrounding the fabric of the nation overlaid with reflections on it's structure - but it's late and I'm tired, so I won't!
This afternoon Immy and I went to the beach at Rabbit Island, where we found the family - Alexander and Simone bundling about the beach in red sunsuits looking very sandy and very sweet. As we were deciding where to park, I briefly glimpsed a horse ahead of us, cantering through the forest.
"Oh look, someone out for a ride!" I exclaimed.
"No, it's just a horse running freely by itself," Immy replied.
As we were getting out of the car, we saw a girl in a riding hat tramping purposefully along the path nearby, and another on a horse approaching from the same direction. I asked Immy if she had meant that the horse we had seen was wearing a saddle and bridle and she replied that it was. When we reached the beach and found Jonathan and Lynley, they asked us if we had been in danger of being mown down by the runaway horse - apparently the girls had been with a group of riders who had taken their mounts down into the waves, where that particular horse had stumbled, thrown its rider and then galloped off into the distance - and Rabbit Island is quite large!
Anyway, about 20 minutes later the two girls came riding past, both on horses this time and obviously none the worse for the experience. I took a photo (here) that could have been the blip, but I decided I liked the raindrops best. I also took quite a few shots of a kiteboarder who was whooshing around near us later on, too, but decided they were really a bit too far away.
Back to school tomorrow...