Waitangi Day is a public holiday in New Zealand held to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the native Maori and European people. Every year on the 6th of February a huge celebration takes place and the main spot is on Waitangi grounds, a few kilometers away from the Bay of Islands, where I was celebrating my birthday a few days beforehand.
I ended up joining the local Maoris for the Waitangi day dawn ceremony at 6 am(!!). Around mid-day different Maori tribes paddled their Waka boats around the peninsula and later came out of the water to dance their traditional Haka.
Massive number of Maoris dancing looked incredible!
There was also a fair held in a park in Waitangi with different Maori crafts and foods present. Interestingly, the whole town felt different that day. It was full of compassionate and strong cultural background-having Maoris.
Waitangi day was quite an experience! If I did not end up joining my Maori friends, I would have not learned all about the strong Maori culture hidden somewhere in the developed and westernized New Zealand.