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Waitangi Day a chance for reflection

Waka

While enjoying this week’s public holiday for Waitangi Day, Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst says it’s a good time to reflect on the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi in shaping the country’s past and future.

As with previous years, there will be two community Waitangi Day events in the Hastings district on Wednesday.

Farndon Park in Clive will be the venue for a family festival that begins at 7am with a hikoi led by Hastings district councillor Henare O’Keefe starting from Ātea a Rangi/Celestial Compass.

The hikoi arrives at Awapuni (Clive Domain) at 8am after which there will be a re-enactment of the arrival of the first Europeans, escorted by tangata whenua on the waka.

From about 9am to noon people can enjoy free waka rides aboard Taua Nga Tukemata O Kahungunu, and Riverside Karaoke will be taking place from noon to 1pm, open to all and offering a cash prize for the most melodious.

Organiser Marie Edwards says it is a wonderful chance for the community to acknowledge the cultural significance of the Clive riverbank as the closest point to where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in Hawke’s Bay in 1840. 

“There is a plaque on the riverside commemorating the actual signing of the treaty.  It is a very special place to reflect on the meaning of Waitangi Day.”

Over at the Hawke’s Bay Regional Sports Park at Percival Rd things are already set up for the Waitangi Day celebrations hosted by Ngāti Kahungunu Inc.

Organiser Te Rangi Huata says he’s looking forward to the event that’s an opportunity for friends and family to get together and enjoy a day of fun.

Running from 8am to 4pm, the day will feature sportspeople playing games such as nines league, touch, and Ki-o-rahi, a traditional Māori game that has been revived in recent years.

There will also be an arena stage showcasing marae kapa haka, young dancers, singers and musicians, and Wellington reggae band Tomorrow People will perform at 3pm to close out the celebrations.

History around the treaty will be shared on a big screen and live streaming broadcast, there will be free Mahons amusement rides running all day, and plenty of kai for sale.

“Here in Hawke's Bay we have been celebrating Waitangi Day publicly since 2000 – we hope the community will come out and enjoy the day with us as we celebrate our country’s 179th birthday since rangatira chiefs in the Bay of Islands signed the Treaty of Waitangi with the British Crown,” Mr Huata says.

4 February 2019

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