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Government announces refreshed Commemorations Programme 2023-2027

Ministers’ release: 11 July 2022

Beehive media release.

The programme of historical anniversaries to be acknowledged by the New Zealand Government over the next five years includes some of our nation’s most important events, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni said.

“We’re continuing to lay the foundations for a better future by ensuring all New Zealanders have the opportunity to learn, be immersed in and meaningfully engage with some pretty historical events which have shaped Aotearoa New Zealand’s history,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The programme announced today spans key anniversaries from 2023 to 2027.”

“Some anniversaries will celebrate unique milestones in the development of our national identity, such as 75 years since the 1951 waterfront dispute and the centenary of our relationship with the Ross Dependency in Antarctica, both significant anniversaries coming up over the next five years.

“The programme will also give opportunity to reflect on past injustices in order to create a better future. For example, in 2024 we will mark 50 years since the start of the Dawn Raids on Pacific peoples. In 2025, we will commemorate the 1975 Māori Land March from Te Hāpua in Northland to Wellington – a 1,000 km hīkoi led by Dame Whina Cooper to protest land laws which had a devastating impact on Māori.

Te Rōpū Matakite o Aotearoa march crossing Auckland Harbour Bridge, 1975. Archives New Zealand reference: BCCH 10887 A678 Box 1/s 

“Aotearoa’s artistic identity is also highlighted with the 50th anniversary of the first novel by a Māori author, Witi Ihimaera’s Tangi, and the 75th anniversary of the first wholly New Zealand-produced record, Ruru Karaitiana’s Blue Smoke.

“And we will acknowledge the development of our social safety net with anniversaries like 50 years since the launch of ACC in 2024,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

The programme is being launched as Aotearoa prepares to mark the tier 1 anniversary Te 50 tau o Petihana mō te reo Māori, the 50th anniversary of the Māori Language Petition, in September. This year, the National Commemorations Policy has also been refreshed so that future anniversaries are grouped by theme rather than marked as ‘tier 1’ or ‘tier 2’ commemorations. 

“This new approach to grouping anniversaries will encourage kōrero about common threads across multiple anniversaries. The themes for the next five years include cultural identity, Māori rights and representation, creating a social safety net and our relationship with Pacific countries. 

“Our Government’s Commemorations Programme is one opportunity we have to enhance New Zealanders’ understanding of the stories, culture, identities and communities that make up our nation and are important to mark and recognise.

“With this commemorations programme, we encourage New Zealanders to walk into the future informed by our past,” Carmel Sepuloni said.


Updated on 30th August 2022