New Zealanders have celebrated Independence Day on Thursday, but many Indigenous communities around the country say their celebrations are not as well-attended as the United States.
As the country celebrates its 100th anniversary this week, the first Indigenous nation to officially declare its independence, some New Zealand First MPs are planning a national day of silence, as part of celebrations of independence.
The Indigenous Peoples of New Zealand Day (IPOD), which is also known as Independence Day, has traditionally been celebrated in the north of the country.
This year, the government announced a series of measures to support Indigenous celebrations of the day, including a new festival and a new flag to be used.
The new flag has been designed by a team from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Wellington, with a national flag design by local artist Meegan Williams.
“We think that this is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and celebrate our Indigenous culture and heritage, and we feel we are doing that by bringing people together, and by celebrating Indigenous culture with art, music and art and culture and art,” said Chief Executive Andrew Ladd.
Chief executive of the New Zealand Council for Ethnic and Racial Equality, Peter McLean, said there were concerns about the timing of the celebration, especially given the fact that the United Kingdom is celebrating its 100-year anniversary.
“We’ve been saying all along that there’s not a great deal of history, and that the first thing that you need to do is remember who you are,” he said.
“And so we would like to celebrate this independence day by creating a national moment of silence.”
Mr McLean said the celebration should not be confused with the British colonial era, when the government celebrated its independence with a parade, but there was no official ceremony.
“It is very clear that the celebrations are part of a national movement and they are not an isolated event, they are part that is a celebration of New ZEALAND, the people of New England,” he added.
“There’s a lot of history and history in New Zealand that goes back to this land.”
I think it’s very important to understand that there are lots of New Zealander and New Zealand-based Indigenous people that celebrate Independence Day and we want to be there and we’re there to support them.
“The new day of remembrance is expected to include an Indigenous feast at the country’s Parliament House, a traditional celebration at Waikato’s Parliament Square, a new Indigenous flag, and traditional music.
There are no plans for a march or protest, but Indigenous activists are encouraging people to wear traditional clothing, such as traditional kipo, to mark the day.
New Zealand’s National Day of Remembrance is being observed on the same day as the Queen’s Birthday, and is an annual event in the country, which is celebrating 150 years of independence on Wednesday.
Many Indigenous communities have previously expressed concerns about government plans to introduce legislation to alter the Indigenous Language Act, which bans certain Indigenous language and cultural expressions.
It is not the first time that New Zealand has faced accusations of “ethnic cleansing”.
In February, a report by the New York-based United Nations Commission on Human Rights found that there was widespread discrimination against Indigenous people and that authorities had failed to properly respond to violence and abuses against them.
The country is a country of some 11.6 million people.
It is the most populous country in the world and the second largest economy in the European Union after the United Arab Emirates.
More to come.