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Week-long activities around Waitangi Day

Mount Bruce, Masterton: Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is offering a whole week of activities to honour Waitangi Day. A key focus will be a series of harakeke wānanga (flax workshops) that will run from Monday 3rd February to Friday 7th February. The workshops will run twice daily for two hours from 10.30am – 12.30pm and from 1pm – 3pm.

The workshops are free to everyone and designed to educate and teach people the correct way to harvest and weave harakeke. Everyone is encouraged to come and participate. Local kairaranga (flax weaver) Waiaria Pitau from Te Pātukituki o Wairarapa will lead the workshops at Pūkaha. Each harakeke wānanga session will be limited to ten people.

The first hour will include a hīkoi to Pūkaha’s wetlands to learn about harakeke tikanga and sustainable harvesting. This will be followed by hands-on learning of harakeke weaving techniques and culminate in participants weaving their own tuna (eel) to takeaway.

Throughout the week visitors to Pūkaha will also be handed a harakeke putiputi (flower woven from flax with a whakataukī (proverb) to commemorate the week.

The Waitangi Day countdown and workshops are designed to also acknowledge the importance of the settlement redress that is happening between the Crown and Rangitāne on Saturday the 8th of February 2020 at Pūkaha. The occasion will mark the formal return of the 942 ha Pūkaha forest reserve to Rangitāne. While that ceremony will be a private event for Rangitāne whānau and invited guests, the wildlife centre will remain open and visitors will be welcome in the reserve on the day.

Throughout the ceremony, it is expected to be business-as-usual for Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre. Their forest restoration, breeding programmes and tourism activities will also remain unaffected by any changes that the settlement may bring.

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