Holy ground; a Waitangi reflection

By Layton Fraser.

“We are standing on Holy ground, and I know that these are angels all around”. It took me 23 years (granted I spent the first 7 in South Africa) to see, experience and feel the significance and power of Waitangi Day first hand. My experience of Waitangi Day may be slightly different than others who go there for political purposes or for a day out, as I found myself constantly churning through my mind that I was standing on Holy ground. The term Holy ground may be a totally subjective term for each person, but for me it encompasses not only my faith aspect but also the significance that took place on that very land and how that fits into the bigger story.

I remember wondering how many New Zealanders have experienced the place of Waitangi on Waitangi Day. Not being Maori it is so easy to overlook the significance of what took place all those years ago, and even easier to neglect the actions that followed, both negative and positive and how that has shaped the fabric of Aotearoa New Zealand. Too often I find myself looking at life and the world around me through a tainted and biased “Layton Fraser lens”, and although not done purposely it isn’t until I remind myself that the way I perceive life is different to the person I’m sitting across the dinner table from. The beauty that I’ve come to realise is it is only when I to try see through a multitude of lenses with grace and understanding that the full spectrum of beauty and colour that is present in Aotearoa can begin to show.

I am still processing my whole Waitangi experience as each year passes, but I do know that standing in the marae at 5am with the gathered few singing a waiata, I was at peace knowing that the journey of a nation and its two predominant cultures started here, and a 175 years on standing on the same grounds I was a part of the journey they started.

Text by Layton Fraser + Photo by N.Reese.

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