Today New Zealand marks Waitangi Day (Te Rā o Waitangi), a national day of unity commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.
Known today as the founding document of the nation, the Treaty is a set of broad principles in which the Māori and British founded a nation state and agreed to build a government in New Zealand. A day of reflection for many, here’s what Waitangi Day means to our team, in their own words.
“We have a strong national pride in the country that NZ is and how we stand on the world stage for a small country with a small population. NZ is an inclusive society and in comparison with many countries we are very progressive; Waitangi Day is an opportunity to celebrate this with the understanding that there is always work to do to improve general understanding and awareness of different cultures and identities.
“Our multiculturalism is a strength, with different cultures part of the fabric of modern day NZ. NDY’s Auckland office has people of 12 different nationalities working together and has always had a diverse cultural make-up, with this diversity making it an interesting place to work.”
Shay Gordon, Associate Director
“Waitangi Day brings memories of family time, haka, poi dancing, wakas, meeting houses, ceremonies, kai and sometimes controversy. Multiculturalism for me was normal, being of Samoan and European descent. My early childhood friends were a complete mix of nationalities, Maori, Dutch, English Mexican, Greek to name a few so where I grew in in West Auckland, NZ, we didn’t differentiate people from where they came from just how they treated you. The Treaty of Waitangi reinforces multiculturalism by showing that people from two very different cultures can come together and agree on how a country should be governed. Maori quite often having a different view point on issues, especially in relation to the environment, is healthy and allows debate and hopefully better outcomes for people as a whole.”
Lance Craigie, Associate
“As Waitangi Day means different things to different people, I think it’s important to note that New Zealand national pride includes being able to band together in times of need. Be it a neighbourhood helping someone that has come across misfortune, standing up against things that go against our beliefs such as Nuclear or apartheid or standing together, 1.5m apart to take control of COVID.
“As a company we work to make a difference, whether directly through projects or via charitable initiatives that support the community. Recently NDY have been getting involved with Kianga Ora in helping to design both houses and apartment complexes to home those that otherwise struggle to find accommodation. Being a part of these projects is important to us, it means we can give our expertise and ensure that the buildings are designed to be comfortable and healthy to live in. On top of this we are involved in a few different charities and partake in fundraising events or community services such as beach clean ups.”
Alex Hartley, Mechanical Engineer
“As an immigrant to New Zealand, the Wellington NDY office is a perfect reflection of just how diverse NZ has become since the Treaty of Waitangi. Waitangi Day for me is an opportunity to celebrate this diversity but also acknowledge the importance of Maori culture and language to the founding of NZ. Maori language week is another initiative that our office builds on by having people in the office practice some common phrases in Te reo Maori.”
Vili Rawalai, Project Engineer
You can read a summary about the Treaty of Waitangi on the NZ Human Rights Commission website.