A brand-new show for Vector Lights will tell the story of how Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) travelled the country as signatures from numerous chiefs were gathered.
The story of the nine copies of the treaty that went out from Waitangi are told visually in the Vector and Auckland Council initiative, with elements like teardrops, mountains, and waves appearing throughout the show to represent the locations where Te Tiriti was signed.
References to some of the signatories of the Treaty are also made, with marks representing chiefs who ‘signed’ the Treaty with their own unique symbol.
“We are really excited to launch this show for Waitangi 2021,” says Councillor Alf Filipaina, Chair of Auckland Council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee.
“The visuals are absolutely stunning, making this a truly unique and beautiful re-telling of the nine sheets that travelled the motu (land) seeking signatures of chiefs who couldn’t make it to Waitangi.”
Emily Trent, Auckland Council’s Manager of Arts and Culture highlights the added significance of the Vector Lights show in 2021.
“This year’s show takes on more importance with the cancellation of some of Auckland’s biggest Waitangi celebration events, a decision made together with our event partners, as a precautionary measure to ensure the wellbeing of our community.”
People can commemorate this historical event and safely maintain physical distancing, either by finding somewhere to watch the light show in person, or by watching the livestream online.
2021 is the 181st anniversary of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. While many New Zealanders see the Treaty as one of the most important documents for our nation, not many people realise that there were nine separate sheets that went out from Waitangi to gather as many signatures from chiefs as possible.
“We wanted to showcase these different sheets and reinforce the importance of the document to the history and future of Aotearoa,” says Ataahua Papa, show creator.
“For example, the first part of the show will show 240 white teardrops for the 240 Māori tāne (men) who signed Te Tiriti at Waitangi on 6 February and three red teardrops to represent the three wāhine (women) who also signed. Teardrops were chosen to represent the meaning of Waitangi – the place of weeping water.”
“Five white ‘x’s will represent the five signatories on the Printed Sheet as well as all the signatories who used an ‘x’ to sign.”
See the lights
Aucklanders can view the show from various points around the Waitematā Harbour from 3-8 February. The 13-minute presentation will play every half hour from 9pm until midnight.
Recommended areas to view it include Westhaven Marina; the western end of Silo Park; the ends of both Princes and Queens Wharves; Little Shoal Bay; Northcote Point; Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park and Maungawhau Mt Eden.
Those watching in person can stream the audio that is synced to the show from the Vector Lights webpage.
Those who wish to watch a livestream video from home can visit Vector’s Facebook page.