In this famous photo Māori leader and politician Āpirana Ngata is shown leading a haka at the opening of Te Whare Rūnanga meeting house at Waitangi on 6 February 1940. There were two centennial events at Waitangi – re-enactments of the debates that preceded the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the signing of the treaty itself on 5 and 6 February, and the opening of the meeting house on 6 February. Ngata spoke at the opening and, while he noted that 'In the whole of the world I doubt whether any native race has been so well treated by a European people as in New Zealand', he also took the opportunity to remind Pākehā of long-standing problems. 'In retrospect', he asked referring to the centennial year, 'what did the Māori see? Lands gone, the power of chiefs humbled in the dust, Māori culture scattered and broken.' Members of Ngāpuhi at the ceremony wore red blankets as a sign of protest about the compulsory acquisition of Māori lands that had been deemed 'surplus'.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.