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Public holiday 'not the way we build our shared understanding' of NZ Land Wars, Ardern says


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern doesn't think adding a public holiday to commemorate the New Zealand Land Wars is the way forward, and is looking to New Zealand history being taught in schools instead.

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The Prime Minister talked about the issue after attending a three-day event in Taranaki to commemorate the NZ Land Wars. Source: Breakfast

However, she told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning she's interested in what New Zealanders think.

Ms Ardern attended a three-day event in Taranaki where the New Zealand Land Wars were acknowledged. It was the second time the series of wars had a national commemoration.

"These were obviously significant wars for New Zealand, they have a lasting legacy," she said.

The commemoration is set to travel - with it being held in Waikato next year, which Ms Ardern said gives "an extra layer of history".

"This is a chance for us to acknowledge that significant part of our history as we do with other wars that New Zealand has participated in - so really important, I think, that we commemorate and acknowledge that period in our history."

Ms Ardern said she hoped the commemoration would grow, as well as build into New Zealand history being taught in schools.

When asked about her stance on a national holiday, Ms Ardern said she'd had similar calls over Matariki.

"What I am clear on is that's not the way we build on our shared understanding of periods in our history. I mean, we have Waitangi Day, but I think the best think we can do there is teach that in our schools rather than just focus on the commemoration in itself.

"New Zealanders, I'd love to hear what they think," she added. "We've got 11, roughly, public holidays now. I've been looking at how many Australia has, Canada has, and we have a similar number already."

Ms Ardern said that there were lots of ramifications of a public holiday to consider as well.

When asked why she is yet to visit ihumātao, Ms Ardern said she wants to find a solution first.

"I will, I absolutely will," she said. "There is work going on as we speak, to still finally find a resolution. What I wanted to not do was detract from getting to that place.

"I will visit, I absolutely will. It's just a matter of when for me."