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Local MP Louise Upston wants to reinvigorate the discussion about whether or not it's time for Waikato to have its own Anniversary Day.

“The Waikato has its own unique history which is different to that of Auckland. We are a great region that can stand on our own two feet, with a history to be proud of,” Ms Upston said.

“Getting support at the local government level is key to any conversation around change, and it is a conversation we need to have as a region.

“An example of conversation aiming at change is the recent petition launched by students from Otorohanga College. Leah Bell, the Youth MP for my colleague Barbara Kuriger – MP for Taranaki-King Country, was one of those students who presented the petition to Parliament on 8 December 2015.”

Late last year, Leah Bell, along with Ms Kuriger’s support, launched a petition requesting an annual national day of commemoration for the New Zealand Maori Land Wars, which gained over 12,000 signatures.

Ms Kuriger said “the idea of a day commemorating the New Zealand Maori Land Wars, is a perfect starting place for a conversation around Waikato’s own anniversary day”.

“With over 12,000 people in the region signing Miss Bell’s petition, it is clear that there is local support for the concept. It’s my belief that we are perfectly placed to look at this, as it is time we had our own day, just as we already have our own identity”.

Ms Upston added “this is not the first time discussions around Waikato having its own anniversary day have emerged. Having previously raised this topic in back in 2010, five years on, I believe there is now more public support than ever.”  

“With the support Miss Bell received with her petition, now is the perfect time to reflect on what’s best for the people of Waikato and have another, constructive conversation about our identity and how we remember it.”

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