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Orongomai Marae celebrates Waitangi

25 January, 2012

Orongomai Marae celebrates Waitangi

Powhiri to open Waitangi celebrations at Orongomai Marae in Upper Hutt

Hutt’s Orongomai Marae is continuing its tradition of celebrating Waitangi with an Open Day. The community will be invited onto the marae with a stunning traditional welcoming ceremony, followed by all day entertainment and activities. This free annual event takes place on Monday 6 February, from 9.00 am to 2.00 pm, and provides a great outing for all ages.

There will be a traditional powhiri welcoming ceremony at 9.00 am. The powhiri begins with the karanga, the keening voices of women calling to each other from both the visiting group and the hosts. It is followed by a wero (challenge) performed by a warrior. This is followed by a chant and dance of welcome and exchange of greetings—an experience not to be missed.

Another highlight of the event is the traditional hangi meal that is buried and cooked on the marae grounds. There are fewer opportunities to try a true hangi today as many are steamed in purpose built gas ovens instead of the traditional method. A large pit is dug in the ground and a fire is built over it to heat up carefully chosen stones to a high temperature. Once the stones are hot enough, the prepared food is placed on top and covered with wet sacking and then soil. The food is steamed to perfection in the earth oven.

The theme for this year’s event is “ngā kōrero ō tātou matua tipuna” or “stories of our parents and grandparents”. This is an opportunity to share traditions, wisdom, and stories, and honour our elders. Marae staff will be on hand to tell stories of the history of the marae, the preparation of the hangi and other information.

Tours of the marae will take place throughout the day along with multicultural performances, and craft and food stalls.

Upper Hutt Settlement Support is taking names of migrants that would like to attend the event as a group. Please email if you would like to meet up with other migrants at the event.

Orongomai Marae is located at 1 Railway Ave, Upper Hutt (next to Maidstone Max). The Open Day celebration is on Waitangi Day, 6 February 2012, from 9.00 am to 2.00 pm.

For more information about the event or to book a hangi meal, go to

About Upper Hutt City Council
Upper Hutt City Council is the steward and custodian of Upper Hutt City, providing governance, infrastructure, and community services and resources, and promoting opportunity in the city for business, recreation, lifestyle, and leisure. Upper Hutt City is located 30 km north-east of Wellington City (41°07'34" S, 175°04'06" E) and boasts 70% of the region’s parks and reserves, along with state-of-the-art entertainment and leisure facilities.

For more information on Upper Hutt City and the City Council, go to


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