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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s prerecorded speech marking the historic 1840 Treaty of Waitangi between Māori chiefs and the colonial government made from the treaty grounds. Video: RNZ News

RNZ News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has used her Waitangi Day speech to call for New Zealand’s people to come together and overcome the challenges facing the country today and into the future.

A pre-recorded speech from Ardern has been broadcast as part of today’s Waitangi Day commemorations.

Because of the pandemic, the Waitangi Trust shifted the focus for this year’s Waitangi Day commemorations from the typical in-person ceremony at the treaty grounds north of Paihia to a virtual experience via broadcasts and online.

Ardern said it was important to take time and reflect on Waitangi Day and think about how to improve outcomes for Māori and all New Zealanders.

She said across Aotearoa there were stories of arrival, settlement, conflict, unity, hope and hardship and acknowledging the stories was crucial to people’s connection to each other.

“Today, we mark the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and our ancestors who signed this document, we mark their journey, and continue to make our own, one that defines our nation — a nation we can all be proud of.

“Togetherness is something we have shown throughout the last few years, I know it hasn’t been easy. There were many clouds and at times they seemed so dark that the sun could not shine through, but together we have, and we continue to overcome.”

Proud of NZ history teaching
Ardern said she was proud that this year schools would have the resources to teach New Zealand history and the country would celebrate the first Matariki public holiday.

Ardern said she would return to Waitangi in person, but for now she had to address people from Parliament in Wellington.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro travelled to Waitangi to pre-record speeches last month.

It was on the flight from Kerikeri to Auckland that they became close contacts of a positive covid-19 case, but subsequently they both tested negative for the virus.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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