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7 top ways to celebrate Waitangi Day in Wellington

Celebrate our national day with a sense of pride at one of the many Waitangi Day events in the capital.

On 6 February 2021, it will be 181 years since the nation that we know today was formed. And since Waitangi Day is a public holiday, many of us get to enjoy the long weekend with our friends and family to celebrate our country’s history.

There are plenty of fun and educational events going on in Wellington this year. So get your friends and family together, and check out our list of things to do this Waitangi Day.

Top Waitangi day events and celebrations in Wellington

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1. Waitangi Day at He Tohu

Did you know that the Treaty of Waitangi is actually nine documents? He Tohu has the original documents on display inside the National Library.

On 6 February, you can join a 30-minute tour at half-hour intervals throughout the day and discover more about New Zealand’s constitutional past. Runs between 9:30am and 4:30pm.

More info: Waitangi Day at He Tohu


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2. Te Rā o Waitangi

Join in the Waitangi Day morning festivities at Wellington waterfront, starting with a formal opening and waka salute.

Then head to Waitangi Park in the afternoon where there’ll be an opening blessing, live music, food stalls and award-winning Māori performers to entertain you throughout the day.

More info: Wellington Government


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3. Summer Pop-up Village

Head to Taranaki Wharf to check out the boutique stores and food trucks at the Pop-up Village.

It’s open from 10am-4pm every day throughout the summer, so take a wander around then stop at Te Papa museum to view the Treaty of Waitangi exhibition.

More info: Pop-up Village


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4. Treaty of Waitangi exhibition at Te Papa museum

While you can do this activity on any day of the year, 6 February is an extra special time to check out the Treaty of Waitangi exhibition.

You can learn about how the Treaty shaped New Zealand, explore the history of our indigenous people and hear stories of migrants from the past 200 years.

More info: Te Papa Government


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5. Waitangi Day Festival Porirua

With live music, cultural and creative activities, Treaty of Waitangi talks and delicious food stalls, there are plenty of reasons to spend Waitangi Day in Porirua with the kids.

If you’re feeling energetic, you can even take a trip out on the water and paddle a waka.

This festival is zero-waste, so bring your reusable cups and food containers. Runs from 11am to 4pm.

More info: Porirua Mana


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6. Open Day – Waitangi Day

Celebrate Waitangi Day 2021 by heading down to the Wrights Hill Fortress for its post-pandemic reopening.

Visitors can enjoy a full hour of tunnel exploration, followed by a viewing of historic video. Refreshments and picnic spots will be available.

All ages are welcome and the event runs from 10am to 4pm.

More info: Open Day – Eventfinda


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7. Wana Ake Festival

Get out and about this Waitangi Day with a plethora of activities, events, art and exhibitions at the Wana Ake Festival.

Running from 10am to 6pm, the whole family can have a bit of fun. The festival features the world’s first Māori VR film, clay makers, skate culture, traditional art and so much more.

More info: Wana Ake Festival


Are shops open on Waitangi Day?

Some shops may be closed on Waitangi Day, but here are the major shopping centres that will be open. Note that these trading hours are subject to change.

  • North City Porirua: 9am-6pm
  • The Mall Upper Hutt: 9am-5:30pm
  • Queensgate Shopping Centre: 10am-6pm
  • Johnsonville Shopping Centre: 9am-5:30pm
  • Outlet City: 10am-5pm

Frequently asked questions about Waitangi Day

What is Waitangi Day?

Waitangi Day is a public holiday for many New Zealanders and marks the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by British Crown representatives and over 500 Māori chiefs. Many businesses, schools and government offices have the day off, and if 6 February falls on a weekend then Waitangi Day will be observed on the following Monday.

Why do we celebrate Waitangi Day?

The Treaty of Waitangi was the founding document of New Zealand, so Kiwis celebrate the coming together of the native Māori tribes and British settlers to make the country we know today.

When was Waitangi Day first celebrated?

Even though it was 180 years ago that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, the day wasn’t officially commemorated until 1934. New Zealanders have only been able to enjoy the day as a public holiday since 1974.

Waitangi tours you can book now

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa: Small Group Guided Tour

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa: Small Group Guided Tour from Viator

Highlights:

  • 60-minute guided tour of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Discover rare artifacts from the nation’s rich history
  • Price from $19.85 per person
View details
Bay of Many Coves Helicopter Tour with 3-Course Lunch from Wellington

Bay of Many Coves Helicopter Tour with 3-Course Lunch from Wellington from Viator

Highlights:

  • Explore Cook Strait, Marlborough Sounds, picture-perfect bays and more
  • Includes a three-course lunch
  • Price from $811.65 per person
View details
Walking Food Tour Of Wellington

Walking Food Tour Of Wellington from Viator

Highlights:

  • Stroll through the Wellington city centre as you stop over at unique food destinations
  • Discover the city’s hidden gems
  • Price from $193.48 per person
View details
From Cave to Coast Wellington Highlights Tour

From Cave to Coast Wellington Highlights Tour from Viator

Highlights:

  • Enjoy a personalised experience of the south coast
  • Lunch, local driver, hotel/cruise pick up and drop off included
  • Price from $168.68 per person
View details

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