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Wellington to celebrate our national day in style

31 January 2008

Wellington to celebrate our national day in style

Wellington will be celebrating New Zealand’s national day in style, thanks to Meridian Energy Summer City.

Wellington City Council in partnership with the Wellington Tenths Trust has organised a Waitangi Day Celebration — Te Rā o Waitangi at Waitangi Park from 9.45am to 4pm. Featuring kapa haka, drumming, dance, multicultural acts, food and stalls, it promises to be a great day out for the whole family.

Event organiser Rebecca Hardie says that the celebration will be both a great way to spend your day off and also a fun way to learn more about what Waitangi Day means. “Whether you want to kick back and enjoy the entertainment from music to martial arts, chat to a stallholder what Waitangi Day means to them, or sample some food delicacies, we’ve got it all for you.”

Tangata whenua will host the event but all cultures are welcome and many are celebrated. Multicultural acts will perform and delicacies from around the world will be available alongside haangi.

Entertainment will be provided by roots-reggae group Homefire Burning, Sam Manzanza and the Rhythm African Band, soul and R&B exponents M Town Classix, baritone Zane Jarvis, Cook Island drummers Maui Maui, soul singer Iva Lankum and cultural dance groups.

This year’s event sees the addition of a Rangatahi (young people’s) stage, running from 9.45am until noon. This separate area will give many talented young Wellingtonians a chance to perform. Rebecca says that the Rangatahi stage reflects a healthy interest in both traditional Maori art forms, and other forms of self-expression from around the world, among Wellington youth. “There are lots of really talented kids out there that just want to perform. We hope to see some of these young people back to perform on the main stage at future Te Rā o Waitangi events.”

The Rangatahi stage features the likes of Matiu Samuel, the eight-year-old world champion tap-dancer who incorporates elements of hip hop dance into his performance, as well as Mana Tiaki Kapa Haka group, Chinese hip hop crew Chip Chop, the Philipino Dance Crew, Controlled Chaos Krump Crew, rap MCs, folk dancers and a string quartet.

The ever-popular live music event, Radio Active 89FM’s One Love 08: Aroha Tahi, will also be returning on Waitangi Day. Now in its eleventh year, One Love offers live dub, roots and reggae. Timed to celebrate the birthday of legendary reggae star, the late Bob Marley, and headlined by international dub phenomenon J-star, the event runs from 11.30am to 6.30pm at Hataitai Velodrome. Entry costs $5, children aged 14 and under free.

Motorists are warned to expect traffic delays in the area, especially through the Mt Victoria tunnel, Ruahine Street and Wellington Road, until about 7pm. They are encouraged to take alternative routes when travelling to and from the Eastern Suburbs and the Airport. Drivers are also asked to keep an eye out for pedestrians in the area.

Because Waitangi Day is a holiday, there’s a good excuse to stay up late on Tuesday night. The most relaxing way to do this will be while enjoying a French film under the stars. Diva (France, 1981) lights up the Botanic Garden Dell from 9pm. This breezy film, directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix, is presented by the French Embassy and the Film Archive. Beineix, perhaps best known to many for Betty Blue (1986), debuted with Diva and is often grouped with the likes of Luc Besson in the ‘cinéma du look’ movement of super-stylish romantic pictures. Diva is 117 minutes, in French with English subtitles, rated M (contains violence).


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