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Her Excellency The Governor General inspecting the Royal Guard of Honour at Waitangi 2017

Waitangi Day 2017

6 February 1840

Captain William Hobson RN was appointed Lieutenant Governor of New Zealand in 1840, with the task of negotiating for British sovereignty over the territory.  He arrived in the Bay of Islands on 30th January 1840 in the frigate HMS Herald, commanded by Captain Joseph Nias, RN. 

One of Hobson’s first duties was to conclude a treaty with Maori, the indigenous people.  Using the HMS Herald as his initial base, Hobson consulted with the British Resident, James Busby, and resident missionaries.  Busby’s proposed changes were accepted with some modifications, and the English language version of the treaty was drafted.  The Reverend Henry Williams translated it into Maori.

Hobson was chosen it seems because of his experience with NZ in 1836. By the time the huihuienga began in front of Busby’s residence at Waitangi on 5th February, HMS Herald’s ship’s company had raised a large marquee ashore made from sails and decorated it with international flags.  HMS Herald‘s officers accompanied Hobson during the negotiations.  The first signatures to the Treaty of Waitangi were affixed on 6th February 1840.  Bad weather intervened, so it was the 8th before HMS Herald could dress ship and fire a 21-gun salute.  Hobson went south to the Waitemata Harbour on HMS Herald to negotiate with tribal leaders further south.

5-6 February 2017

Over the long weekend the Royal New Zealand Navy continued its traditional involvement in Waitangi Day celebrations in the Bay of Islands. The Navy is invited annually by the people of Tai Tokerau, and your Navy plays a significant part in the commemorative ceremonies at the Treaty Grounds. 

This year the Navy warship, HMNZS Canterbury anchored off Waitangi, while HMNZS Wellington was alongside Opua Wharf.

A Beat Retreat and Sunset Ceremony took take place at the Treaty Ground flagpole on the Sunday, and a 100-man Royal Guard of Honour conducted the ceremonial lowering of the White Ensign, signifying the end of the day. This was reviewed by Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy.

Media Release



Art Deco Weekend 15-19 February 2017

The Royal New Zealand Navy will continue its traditional involvement and support in Art Deco Festival Weekend in Napier this year.

The massive 7.8 earthquake ravaged the Hawke's Bay on 3 February 1931 with 261 deaths, 162 of these were in Napier City. The Royal New Zealand Navy [NZ Squadron, Royal Navy] played a significant role in the aftermath of the quake. HMS VERONICA was alongside West Quay and immediately assisted the people of Napier. HMS DUNEDIN and HMS DIOMEDE sailed Auckland with medical supplies and personnel and arrived the next morning.

Travel back in time with Napier's Tremains Art Deco Festival.

The Role of HMS Veronica - the Veronica Bell Ceremony at the Soundshell during Art Deco Weekend is one of the most poignant moments in the weekend and is a time for reflection, a time to remember those who perished in the quake and its aftermath and a time for thanks to those who worked tirelessly to rescue and assist those who survived. The Navy played a central role because of its presence in Napier in the form of HMS Veronica and her crew.

When the Earthquake struck on 3 February 1931 at 1045 HMS Veronica was tied up at the wharf in Napier having arrived at 0200. Her presence was very fortuitous because all communications on the land were damaged in the quake and the sole means of alerting the outside world to the disaster and maintaining communication were through the Veronica.

Why Art Deco? Art Deco was modern. It was fashionable at the time of the Hawke's Bay Earthquake in 1931, especially in America which had already been a major influence on New Zealand architecture. After the quake, Napier wanted to be modern, because its past had been wiped away and couldn't be recaptured. To replace the ruins of the earthquake and fire with a modern city would give some meaning to the tragedy.

Art Deco Festival

For more information visit the Art Deco website

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