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Marijuana Irrelevant to Pt England Waitangi Event

Press Release
January 25 2000

Marijuana Irrelevant to Pt England Waitangi Day Event in Auckland

Auckland's 'One Love NZ' Waitangi Day event at Pt England is set to continue despite concerns about marijuana smoking on the day.

At a meeting this morning Auckland City Councillor for Penrose, Bill Christian raised his concerns with event organisers - Waiata Artists - and police.

The meeting was prompted by Councillor Christian after reading a story in yesterday's Herald which alleged organisers might allow marijuana smoking on the day.

However both Councillor Christian and local police were satisfied this was not the case after Waiata Artists reassured them there would be a dope-ban on the day.

"We did not set this day up to promote marijuana," said Waiata Artists' Will Ilolahia. "We're trying to celebrate our national day and all some people are concerned with is a side issue. We have a lot of positive things going on the day which media have not bothered to point out."

"This includes community stalls, a speaker's corner and a one hour coastal walk along some historic Maori sites near the venue. There will also be live music featuring, reggae, gospel, choral groups, mainstream artists and local Pacific Island string bands."

The annual 'One Love' concert has been incorporated into the event at Pt England because it celebrates reggae singer Bob Marley's birthday on Waitangi Day.

The 'One Love' concerts have regularly attracted the largest crowds to any Waitangi Day event, and organisers felt it would be a good way to create more awareness about Treaty of Waitangi issues.

They say they will be targeting families, music lovers, tourists and people from the local communities - not a small minority of dope smokers.

Councillor Christian said management strategies regarding security, parking and traffic were agreed to today and he was happy with the outcome of the meeting.

"We are mindful of the Bob Marley element of the day but police and security will not be tolerating dope smoking at the event," said Councillor Christian. "They will be giving it the level of security appropriate to an event of this size."

The event is a joint venture between Waiata Artists and Catalyst Trust, of which Green MP Nandor Tanczos is a founder.

Although not present at this morning's meeting because of Parliamentary commitments, Tanczos says he and his organization always aimed to be respectful of the day's Waitangi Day theme.

"People have misunderstood our intentions for the day," says Tanczos. "It's about bringing people together in unity. We respect the meaning of the day. We will not be inciting people to smoke marijuana."

This is the fifth year Waiata Artists have organized official Waitangi Day events for Auckland. They are also organizing special church services at the Wesley Methodist Church in Mt Roskill and St Matthews in the City. There will also be a Pacific poetry night in Karangahape Rd on Waitangi Day next Sunday.

Ends

For more information contact:

Waiata Artists - Will Ilolahia (09) 629 0826

Nandor Tanczos - (04) 470 6712 or 0252465235


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