Treaty Partners To Return To Waitangi Next YearPrime Minister
The partners to the Treaty of Waitangi will come together for the first time since 1995 to commemorate the signing of the Treaty, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today.
"The Government and Maori leaders will once again be together at Waitangi next February.
"We have held discussions with the Taumata Kaumatua of Te Tai Tokerau, the trustees of Te Tii Marae, and the Watangi Day Organising Committee. There is a real will to have both Treaty partners return to Waitangi.
"The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840 is a historical and cultural cornerstone of our nation and our people. It is important that each year we can mark the event with confidence and renew our commitment. It is time for us to return to the place where the signing took place -Waitangi.
"A lot of work has gone into paving the way for the Crown's return and I am very grateful for the frank and open discussions with local iwi who have expressed a strong desire for the Crown to return to Te Tii Marae.
"All concerned are fully aware that open healthy debate and expressions of opinion are a hallmark of New Zealand society. There is a place for this as long as it's respectful and doesn't limit the rights of others to participate and be heard.
"Government hopes there will be constructive opportunities for this debate and dialogue to occur in 1999."
Mrs Shipley said further details were being worked out including Marae protocol and speaking arrangements at Waitangi.