Waitangi Day is New Zealand’s national day. It is a day to celebrate national pride and New Zealander culture. It commemorates the Treaty of Waitangi signed between the British and the native Maori people in 1840. The treaty made New Zealand a part of the British Empire but allowed the Maori to maintain their rights. The treaty has not always been strictly adhered to by the British and their New Zealander descendants, so though this is a day for celebration, it is also a day of controversy. Many Maori activists protest mistreatment and failure to follow the treaty on this day.