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Waitangi Day: The New Zealand Story

New Holland, 2015
ISBN 9781869664213
Shortlisted for Children’s choice awards, NZ Post Book Awards 2015
Storylines list of notable books for 2016

Aimed at younger readers but providing an excellent resource for the whole family, this book looks at the rich history behind Waitangi Day, universally recognised as New Zealand’s national day. It reviews the historic events behind the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 and charts the celebrations, tensions and protests witnessed in the decades that followed, concluding with a summary of the Waitangi Day events now held on 6th February every year around the country. An engaging informative text gives children a very well balanced view of the significance and background to New Zealand’s celebration of Waitangi Day.

The story behind the book

I’d been to the Bay of Islands several times before, but when I was writing this book, I knew that I needed to make another visit to get more photos and a clearer sense of where all the different locations are. This trip turned out to be a bit more complicated than we expected, because it coincided with the tail end of Cyclone Lusi, but it was still an amazing experience.

Waitangi Day

Our flight from Auckland to Kerikeri was cancelled so we had to go by bus instead. By the time we finally got there, we had missed almost a day of our three-day photo expedition, but it wasn’t possible to take any photos that day anyway, and a lot of the historic sites, like the Stone Store and Kemp House in Kerikeri, were shut. Even the next day, our photos of the beach at Waitangi show it littered with debris after the storm. By the third day, the sun was finally out again.

We still managed to pack a lot into those three days. One of the highlights for me was visiting Oihi Bay. I’d never been there before and it was an amazing place, especially as we were the only ones there.

Media interviews

This is me talking to Kathryn Ryan about the book, from Waitangi itself.
Radio NZ, 5 February 2015

NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2015: Children’s Choice Blog tour: Interview by Barbara Murison in Around the Bookshops, 22 July 2015.


“it is important that children go beyond the surface events that take place on this day and understand and empathize with all parties involved. This book is essential to this journey.” Thanks to John McKenzie for this review on Reading Time: The Children’s Book Council of Australia, 2 June 2015.

Taken in the bookshop at the Waitangi Visitors Centre

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