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Celebrating Waitangi Day at CHT St. John's : By John Peralta

A Day of Reflection and Aroha

In the spirit of commemorating one of Aotearoa's most significant national days, our class, under the guidance of our programme leader, embarked on a meaningful journey to CHT St. John's to celebrate Waitangi Day. This special occasion was made possible thanks to the warm invitation from the dedicated DRT team at the facility, shout out to Elizabeth, the amazing Cheryl who is also one of our senior classmates, and their remarkable colleagues, who welcomed us with open arms.

Waitangi Day, a pivotal moment in New Zealand's history, marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. It's a day that reflects the partnership between the Crown and Māori, intended to ensure the protection of taonga (treasures) and the rights of both parties. Celebrating this day at CHT St. John's with the residents provided us an unparalleled opportunity to connect on a deeper level with the essence of this treaty, beyond the confines of our classroom.

Our group had the privilege of performing waiatas (songs) that resonated with the hearts of everyone present. These performances were more than just musical renditions; they were a bridge connecting us, the performers, with our audience, fostering a sense of community and shared identity. The korero (talks) that followed allowed for an exchange of stories and experiences, enriching our understanding of each other's lives and perspectives. But perhaps the most profound aspect of our visit was the shared Aroha (love) with the whānau (family) there. This wasn't just about the expression of kindness or affection; it was about demonstrating respect, empathy, and the willingness to support one another, principles that are at the heart of Waitangi Day.

Through this activity, our theoretical knowledge of Waitangi Day, gained from classroom lessons, was transformed into a tangible experience. It was no longer just a historical event to learn about; it became a living, breathing reality that we could feel and participate in. The principles that the Treaty of Waitangi embodies were vividly brought to life, allowing us to truly understand the significance of this day. Our visit to CHT St. John's was a powerful reminder that Waitangi Day is more than a historical commemoration. It's a day that challenges us to reflect on our past, appreciate our present, and work together towards a future where the values of respect, unity, and Aroha are paramount. 

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