“I send my warmest greetings to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.”
On this Waitangi Day, my first as King of New Zealand, I send my warmest greetings to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Treaty of Waitangi/Tiriti o Waitangi was signed 183 years ago in the reign of my great-great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. It established an enduring connection with my family that I am honoured to continue.
My mother, Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, was the first reigning Sovereign to visit New Zealand and the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi, and attended the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty in 1990. Waitangi, the place, and Waitangi, the covenant between peoples, were both very special to Her Majesty. I acknowledge and treasure the respect shown by the people of Aotearoa New Zealand to Her late Majesty, and in particular, on this occasion of Waitangi, the respects paid by Māori.
For my own part, I was delighted that my visit to Waitangi four years ago gave me the opportunity to bring with me an historic korowai which had been given to Queen Victoria by Reihana Te Taukawau. It is a taonga that represents a deep connection, which has meant so much to me throughout my life, to New Zealand and the Māori people. It has allowed me humbly to reaffirm my commitment, and that of my children and grandchildren, to this bond between us, and ensuring that it endures for future generations.
Waitangi Day is a time both to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. My family and I join in sending you all our warmest good wishes.
He aroha whakatō, he aroha puta mai.