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Celebration reinforces connection

Nanise Loanakadavu
Monday, February 10, 2014

THE celebration of Waitangi Day in Suva last week was not only a chance for New Zealanders to connect with their expatriates but also with their host and reinforce that Pacific connection.

Acting head of mission Mark Ramsden said it was the fourth time he celebrated Waitangi Day in the Pacific.

The event commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 when the British Crown and 40 chiefs from the North of NZ signed what is often considered to be New Zealand's founding document.

Mr Ramsden said the event on February 6 was also special because it was his first official gathering since he took up the role as acting head of mission.

He said the treaty was between the Polynesian People and the British Crown "and that's quite a significant foundation".

"The celebration reinforces the Pacific connection that NZ was born as a Pacific nation," Mr Ramsden said.

"We can see that through NZ being the foundation of the Pacific Islands Forum and foundation member of the South Pacific Community in 1947."

Fiji Foreign Affairs chief protocol officer Tiale Vuiyasawa said in the period since, NZ has continued to develop her distinctive national character.