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Special Guest In Waitangi Day Church Service

Special Guest Line Up For Waitangi Day Church Service

Minister of Pacific Island Affairs and Housing, Mark Gosche, and former All Black, Michael Jones are two of the special guests who'll attend a Waitangi Day church service at Wesley Methodist Church in Mt Roskill.

Jones will be giving out a special award named after his deceased mother, Maina. It's part of the annual Aotearoa Awards organised by Waiata Artists on Waitangi Day, to honour New Zealanders who've helped the community and race relations.

Jone was the first recipient of an Aotearoa Award in 1997. Others include John Tamihere, sportsmen Barry McGee, Graham Norton and Mark Cooksley, Access Radio in Auckland and the TV programme 'Asia Dynamic'.

Presbyter of the Wesley Methodist church, Reverend Bill Griffiths, says the service will be a multicultural and interdenomiational event to commemorate Waitangi Day. An open invitation has been extended to all people to attend the service.

Representatives from the local Baha'i church will be present, and the MC for the day is Samoan Presbyterian minister, Reverend Mua Strickson Pua. Local boy turned Shortland Street star, Shimpaal Lelisi will also be a guest speaker.

The day will start with a welcoming at 10.00 am followed by prayers, a short service and the Aotearoa Award presentations. The recipients will be announced closer to the day. There will also be music from the Chinese and Tongan Methodist choirs.

Waiata Artists, the co-organisers of the event, received $8,800 from Internal Affairs to hold Waitangi Day commemorative events in Auckland. This was the largest allocation given to any community group in New Zealand

It's the fifth year Waiata Artists has organised church services on Waitangi Day. They will also be involved with a church service at St Matthews-in-the-City in Auckland central where lay preacher and Maori broadcaster, Henare Te Ua will be leading the day.

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