Want a good reason to blow off work next Monday (besides your Superbowl hangover)? Waitangi Day. Itâ€™s a public holiday. Not an American one but still a good excuse to skip work, grab a shovel and head to the beach to build a gargantuan, sandy, silver fern. One of New Zealandâ€™s most important holidays will be celebrated on the beach just south of the Santa Monica pier in support of New Zealandâ€™s â€œMade from New Zealandâ€ campaign. Monday February 5th 10AM digging will commence. Constructing the most colossal sand sculpture this beach has ever seen, artist Mike Mizrahi of Inside Out Productions has the monumental task of sculpting a 300 by 150 ft. silver fern out of sand. Mizrahi explains, â€œThe Californian coast is at the other side of the Pacific Ocean from New Zealand, and I love the idea of New Zealanders making a connection across such a vast distanceâ€¦By building the fern on the Californian coast, we will literally be making New Zealandâ€™s mark on the world.â€
Developed by Auckland-based creative communications partnership Ready Now, â€œMade from New Zealandâ€ is a new brand representing New Zealandâ€™s creativity and entrepreneurship. The brand hopes to connect and promote New Zealand businesses and people from all over the world. The enormous beach project is being funded by the sale of 10,517 commemorative T-shirts. This number represents the number of kilometers between Bethells Beach, New Zealand and the beach in Santa Monica. At 1:30PM, Kiwi celebrities Temuera Morrison and Martin Henderson along with New Zealanders living in the U.S. will help Mizrahi build the giant silver fern. The Waitangi Day event in Santa Monica is the global launch of the brand and will be broadcast live all over the world. It will appear via a live web-cast online (http://www.madefromnewzealand.com/) as well as being broadcast live on MÄori Television. New Zealand will see the first images of the fernâ€™s construction on the morning of February 6th at 10:30AM (Feb. 5th 1:30PM our time).
Waitangi Day is the official New Zealand holiday commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on February 6th 1840 between the English and MÄori tribal chiefs. The Treaty was drafted not as constitution but as a broad statement of principals between British officials and MÄori chiefs. The founding document of New Zealand was to be an exchange of promises between two parties. Lost in translation, the wording lead to two opposing interpretations. In the English version, MÄori ceded to Britain the â€˜sovereigntyâ€™ of New Zealand giving the Crown the exclusive right to buy and own land and other possessions. With no word for â€˜sovereigntyâ€™ in the MÄori language, the British translated the semantic components of the word â€˜sovereigntyâ€™ literally into their components of the MÄori language. The calque â€˜kawanatangaâ€™ was formed by combining 'kawana' which means â€˜governorâ€™ with the MÄori suffix 'tanga', which is similar to the English suffix 'ship'. The word â€˜kawanatangaâ€™ appeared in the MÄori language for the first time in the Treaty. Thus the MÄori believed that they gave up governance over their land but retained full rights to manage their own affairs, akin to the lease versus the sale of land. The delicate yet profound nuances of interpretation lead to the New Zealand Wars from 1845 to 1872. A real bone of contention, the ambiguous wording of the document and its political significance remain in dispute.
Despite the political controversy over Waitangi Day, the celebration in Santa Monica hopes to bring New Zealanders together in honor of their solidarity as a people. The silver fern, an emotional symbol of inspiration, is an image to which all New Zealanders can relate. The symbol is widely used in New Zealand culture ranging from military badges, flags, coins, and MÄori art, to sport logos, â€œFernleaf Butterâ€ and Kiwi T-shirts. The massive, iridescent, silver fronds of this ancient indigenous plant symbolize new life, new beginnings and growth. Building the silver fern on our beach will be a new beginning for â€œMade from New Zealandâ€ and a chance for us and the world to reflect on another countryâ€™s unique history.
Sign up form to help dig the silver fern:
Waitangi Day in LA event details:
2001 video of silver fern construction in Bethells beach, New Zealand:
10,517 T-shirts for sale (each sewn with a thread from Sir Edmund Hillaryâ€™s sock):
New Zealand history:
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Copyright © 2010 E Jo
Waitangi Day in LA: Kiwis build giant silver fern in sand
Copyright © 2010 E Jo
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