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Get ready: Waitangi Day action is on the way

An historical re-enactment and hikoi, waka rides, sports competitions, stalls, food and family entertainment will all be part of two Waitangi Day events on Monday (February 6).

Waitangi Day Big 9 and the Clive Festival have become major events on the Hastings calendar, although the Clive Festival had to take a year off last year after the death of long-time committee member Lily Baker; and Jim Edwards, who runs the waka rides on the Clive River, injured his neck.

Both festivals are supported by Hastings District Council, and Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule will attend both commemoration ceremonies.

This year at Clive a memorial stone commemorating the signing of the treaty by two prominent chiefs will be laid. On behalf of Kahungunu, Harawira Mahikai and Te Hapuku signed the treaty aboard HMS Herald at the mouth of the Tukituki River on June 24, 1840.

That ceremony will be held at 8.30am, to coincide with the arrival of the hikoi, led by Hastings councillor Henare O’Keefe and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council chairman Rex Graham, which this year is following the path from Waitangi Park to Clive.

Waitangi Day Big 9, held at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Sports Park, is also commemorating the signing of the treaty by Ngati Kahungunu chiefs aboard HMS Herald, with a ceremony at 10am.

That ceremony will officially open the Big 9 day, which is a “celebration of nationhood, community and family” featuring sports tournaments and entertainment, including “one of Aotearoa’s most loved family bands, Three Houses Downs”, says event organiser Te Rangi Huata. The 10-piece reggae band is from Otara, South Auckland.

Tipene Harmer, Rezpect Dance Academy, The Rude Boyz, Jharmony, kapa haka groups and hip hop dancers are all also on the play list.

One of the highlights with the 10,000-strong crowds which throng to the park every Waitangi Day is “Bite of the Bay”. This year there will be over 30 food traders and exhibitors preparing kiwi kai and wares for all tastes.

In Clive, following the placement of the memorial stone, the action will move to the riverbank by Farndon Park where there will be a pageant depicting the arrival of the first European settlers escorted by tangata whenua. After the signing of the “Treaty of Peace and Harmony” refreshments will be served. That will be flowed by entertainment including Bert Hura, Raymond Solomon, Ni Keefe, Mike Savage, the Batucuda Brazilian drummers, and the band No Wurez. Free rides on the merry-go-round, train, mini cars and a bouncy castle will be available to children.

4 October 2017

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