Come together: diversity, discourse and the magic of place
Our national day is a pretext to be deliberate about our big, important conversations – our constitution, our identities, our senses of fairness. But all public celebrations let us indulge in a quiet, everyday magic…
Waitangi Day lets us celebrate our constitutional biculturalism and our demographic multiculturalism – with bands, picnics, dancers, hāngī, public art demos, speeches, skateboarding competitions, plant giveaways, panel discussions, multimedia, balloons, kapa haka, duck racing, kid races, musicians, debates, hot dog stands and spiral potatoes… Check out this lovely photo-roundup from Stuff of this year’s events around the Wellington region.
It’s also a great opportunity to power ourselves up with knowledge! The following are some Talk Wellington top reads / listens:
- Ten of the most memorable Waitangi Day celebrations
- What’s written down versus how we act: a surprising tale of two narratives and the Treaty
- If (like many of us!) you think you’d flunk a quiz question on Te Tiriti – this one’s for you!
- That “sovereignty” question: interpreting Apirana Ngata and reconciling the two texts
Lots of us, different, together in a place
While Waitangi Day is unique, ultimately all public holidays with something special about them have public celebrations. And that means loads of local people having a good time in the same place, wandering around, enjoying the same things, separately but together. Low-stakes micro-interactions – the glance and smile exchanged; the little chat about the great performer, the crying kid, the funny dog; the bumping into neighbours you never normally see…
In an age where we’ve forgotten how to be good neighbours, any free, public, celebratory gathering is just great for us as people.
And let’s be honest, it’s always good to know a little more about the place we love and live. Especially when it comes as music, dance, face painting and art – and cartoons!
Here’s a few cool perspectives on public gatherings, and “bumping-into” spaces in general…
- The power of food trucks to make a “scary” space welcoming for all – Megan McIver
- If you were in charge of organising a great local celebration for the public in your neighbourhood, where would you have it? 60 great public spaces from around the world – does your ‘hood have something this good?
- Festivals and celebrations – and regular weekend markets – need public spaces like town squares. And people who want to eat their lunch somewhere! Project for Public Spaces on Launching a New Tradition of Great Public Squares
Whether or not a particular public holiday is significant for you, head along to some of your local festivals this summer – because amongst the spiral potatoes, schoolkids’ performances, and bunting, it’s our people, your people.
It’s us, together.
As the talented Pencilsword of Toby Morris puts it: get amongst 10,000 people you love.
Image credit: tape art at Porirua City Waitangi Day celebrations