As we head toward the 6th of February 2018, Te Rau Matatini kaumatua Witi Ashby provides a reflection on the importance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi:
Ko te Tiriti o Waitangi te wairuatanga hauora i roto i a tātau; i tana kaha nei te awhina korowai pokowhiwhi i a tātau, ngā kōrero nei ki a tātau, kia kaha te tū ki te whawhai, ki te tū whakahaumaru ō tātau iwi, ō tātau reo, ō tātau tikanga whenua. Ko Te Tiriti o Waitangi te tumu mahi haere ō tātau tūpuna kei tupu haere ngā manaakitanga, rangatiratanga o ngā tangata katoa, te tū kaha te ihi mana wehi i roto i a tātou, kei te tū mana motuhake ō tātau iwi ake ake tonu atu.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi is a living spirit of freedom that lives and breathes in us all; it comforts us like a korowai around our shoulders, it tells us to be strong, to stand and fight, to protect our people, our language, and the lores of our lands. Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the foundation that our ancestors gave us to build our hopes, our dreams, and to strengthen resilience in our people to enable them to stand up to protect forever more ake ake tonu atu.