Media Release 16 February 2017
“Heretaunga Haukunui” is a classical saying describing the thick fog that hovered over Heretaunga when the first arrivals landed here centuries ago. The fog was the symbol of warm land, life enriching waters and a veritable breeding ground of fish, fowl and fruit to support huge and diverse communities. The Kahungunu translation is “Heretaunga of the life nourishing waters”. A further saying was added, “Heretaunga Ararau”, the hundreds of roads that lead to Heretaunga from all over the country from all over the world due to this fertile oasis the southernmost on the planet. The Greater Hastings Council in its time called it “The Fruit Bowl of New Zealand”. Heinz- Watties referred to us as the “Market Garden of Asia”. Ararau also speaks of diversity, discourse, innovation, collision and collusion of ideas, identity, and interpretation.
Next week’s Te Matatini 2017 event to be held bang smack in the middle of Heretaunga at Kahungunu Park provides for the full force of both classical expressions. 2500 performers will be storming the stage from all parts of Aotearoa and Australia. They will have 2500 supporters in tow ensuring they are in sync and in harmony. Fifty thousand Kapa haka aficionados will cheer loudly but squirm inwardly if their home teams are not up to scratch.
In the economic space, the Taniwha-Dragon conference showcasing Maori-Chinese business dynamics is fully subscribed at 250 registrations as is the Paua Club with the same numbers. The waka Hourua-double-hulled waka are at full sail as the Pacific voyagers hit town to open Art Deco week and adorn Matatini itself.
But most important is the fact that Ngāti Kahungunu and Hawkes Bay has opened its arms and hearts to visitors from all over the world. Manuhiri will hear, feel, smell, taste and see the best in manaaki that our region has to offer. Food and beverages from our key partners including all local councils will test the palates of the most experienced winners and diners. The waiata and haka will test the nerves of the uninitiated but feed the cultural soul of the converted. Houses will bulge with surprise guests and the visitors will spill all over Hawkes Bay. Our hope is that all of Hawkes Bay will step out in support and in concert with Ngati Kahungunu to celebrate this spectacle in our evolving region hood. Nau mai, haere mai!
One of the most asked questions by all our pending visitors though is “Shall we bring our own water?” or “Is your water safe to drink?” I reply “Of course our water is safe to drink” Goomph! “We are Heretaunga Haukunui, life’s nourishing waters!”