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Closing Gaps Theme For Waitangi Day Church Service

Closing The Gaps Theme For Waitangi Day Church Service

PRESS RELEASE THURSDAY 25 JANUARY 2000

Organisers of a Waitangi Day church service in Auckland will be using a 'Closing the Gaps' theme to commemorate the day. Waiata Artists say the church service at St Matthew's-in-the-City in Auckland will reflect on the impact of the Treaty on New Zealand and its relevance in the new millennium.

"We chose the 'Closing the Gaps' theme to acknowledge the social, health and economic disparities within different parts of our society," says Waiata Artists chairman, Will Ilolahia.

"The fact that Helen Clark has been trying to "sanitise" the slogan makes it even more powerful. No matter what you call it, the disparities exist - especially with our Maori and Pacific Island peoples."

Ilolahia has been organising the St Matthew's church service on Waitangi Day since 1996 and says he's noticed a marked decline in peoples' willingness to commemorate the day.

Waiata Artists were originally to have staged two church services plus the annual One Love concert in Auckland. However poor financial support from central and local government forced them to postpone one of the church services and the One Love concert.

"It's unfortunate we've had to do this but in the end, our hands were tied," said Waiata Artists chairman, Will Ilolahia. "We'd made applications to Auckland City, Internal Affairs, the Prime Minister's office and a few sponsors but they didn't seem to want to support the Waitangi Day kaupapa. I think it's a worry because it shows you their lack of commitment to commemorating our founding document."

The church service will being at 10.30 am and will feature choral music from Maori, Tongan and Chinese choirs.

For more information, contact Waiata Artists (09) 629 0826 or 025 622 4532..

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