Waitangi Day revellers in London marked the New Zealand national day with a boisterous pub crawl around the capital.
More than 7000 Kiwis turned out for the annual event, diving into London’s pubs on foot, undeterred by ‘engineering works’ which closed London Underground’s Circle line.
Traditionally, Waitangi Day participants, gathering in the morning, have alighted at each stop on the Circle line all the way down to Westminster for a collective performance of the haka in Parliament Square by the afternoon.
On Sunday, Kiwis climbed statues outside Big Ben and defied the liquor ban, but Scotland Yard says it has come to accept the Kiwi event.
London’s iconic parliament buildings became a jungle gym as thousands of Kiwis celebrating Waitangi Day descended on the square.
“It’s way better than New Zealand because in New Zealand it’s a very sad day, political day and it’s all about ‘my land, your land’. But over here it’s all about fun and being proud to be a Kiwi,” expat New Zealander Stephanie Scott, told New Zealand website, 3news.co.nz.
Police did little to stop the hijinks. Instead, they tolerated the horsing around and even joined the revelry themselves.
“I think that’s classic New Zealand, it hasn’t really been an organised thing per se, it’s just organic, but people have just been coming along and joined at each different tube stop and so it’s sort of just gone from there, said participant, Mark Wright.
New Zealander, Clint Heine told 3news.co.nz: “A lot of people are silly buggers but most of us just reign everybody in and say ‘calm down, behave yourselves’, it’s not all bad you know, I think it’s a really good day,” There is actually a liquor ban for the whole of Westminster but the head of the police team here today says it’s just too hard to enforce with the resources they have.”
But while the crowd was in good spirits today, some may feel a little sheepish tomorrow.