While I was in Australia, the day I departed was Australia Day. With New Zealand or Waitangi Day as it was formally known coming up, there is an interesting comparison about how the two countries treat their respective national days.
The one thing that was clear is that Australia Day is the business in Australia. There is a huge hype around it and while there is some degree of Australia Day weekend specials, it is more about celebrating being Australian and doing something to mark it. There are a lot of activities for people to do but generally people just got together, went to the beach, a park or someone’s place to actually celebrate being Australian for the day. A few people told me they intended to celebrate a bit more than others by intending to drink a large amount of alcohol and they weren’t necessarily the young ones!
Whatever the case, it is clear that in New Zealand we don’t actually celebrate being New Zealanders well enough. Waitangi Day has turned into a day of division, not a day of celebration. Most people just view it as a day off work and don’t necessarily do anything special.
Maybe it is something that we should consider.