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Waitangi Day Festival For Tauranga Moana On Track To Draw Crowds

People from across the Bay of Plenty region are expected to flock to The Historic Village this Waitangi Day to celebrate unity in Tauranga Moana on our national day.

February 6 will mark the 184th anniversary of the initial signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on the same date in 1840. In its fifth year at The Historic Village at 17th Avenue Tauranga, the Tauranga Moana Waitangi Day Festival will build on the success of the previous year’s event as a day of reverence, ceremony, and fun.

The entertainment and performance line-up are set to entertain all day long with Māori art workshops, craft stalls, and performances from local musicians and cultural groups. Food trucks are also gathering to provide delicious kai throughout the day.

The He Iwi Kotahi (“Together As One”) Tauranga Moana Charitable Trust, the organisation behind the event, has a mission to educate, connect, celebrate and advocate. Its objective is to create unity among the people of New Zealand as envisaged in the Treaty of Waitangi, telling important stories and raising awareness about our national Waitangi Day.

He Iwi Kotahi Chairperson, Richard Cameron, says telling the story and history behind Waitangi Day is a key part of building understanding and togetherness.

“The specially designed Treaty Storyboard Trail at the festival aims to help all families and whānau to learn about and celebrate the history of New Zealand. It will take pride of place again to showcase the importance of community, and connectedness,” explains Richard.

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“The storyboards feature fascinating facts about the history of Tauranga, Treaty of Waitangi, and the era of battles in Tauranga, as well as how the guiding principles of the Treaty are central to the bicultural future of New Zealand.”

Children will be able to pick up a Treaty Storyboard Trail workbook from the He Iwi Kotahi merchandise stand and scan to win prizes.

Celebrated actress and community leader Mabel Wharekawa-Burt is MC for the day and will welcome the crowd just before 10am. Then Senior Ngai Tamarawaho kaumātua Tamati Tata will lead a karakia before the Royal New Zealand Navy raises the New Zealand flag and the national anthem is sung by Brooke McChesney.

Second place finishers at the 2023 National Schools Kapa Haka competition, Maungatapu Primary School Kapa Haka group, Te Pūwhāriki o Te Kura o Maungatapu, will then perform and be followed by an action-packed day of activities for all to enjoy.

Visitors will be able to participate in feather earring workshops, koru sand art, and a special taonga pūoro (‘singing treasures” or Māori musical instruments) workshops by expert Jason Philips. Backyard Games will also be at the event, featuring classic outdoor wooden games such as cornhole and Kubb.

He Iwi Kotahi trustee and professional historian Buddy Mikaere, who has a passion for bringing people together, says the Tauranga Moana Waitangi Day Festival is an event designed for everyone.

“We want the festival to bring whānau, friends, and individuals together in a day of unity, fun, and celebration. To learn, commemorate, and enjoy what is a day we should all feel proud of in our local community and nationally.

“Tauranga is continually growing as a place that’s a highly desirable place in which to live. We need to embrace the vibrancy, multicultural and multi-ethnic make-up that comes with that. We can do that by commemorating the signing of the Treaty on Waitangi Day at this festival, which acknowledges the importance of belonging and wellbeing for all.”

As part of the festival’s kaupapa, free health and wellbeing checks and advice will be available, including Te Manu Toroa, a local medical practice, providing Rongoā Māori based therapies and clinical based health assessments.

Also Heart Foundation NZ will be testing for diabetes and blood pressure and offering heart checks, and Huria Trust from Ngai Tamarawaho hapū will be available to give support and advice including Hep C tests, Total Mobility and Bee Card Concession Application.

Te Aronga Toi Whenua Peka (The Māori Womens Welfare League) will be talking about mana wahine, healthy homes, aue kore, immunisations, and growing strong healthy female rangatahi.

While White Ribbon NZ will also be present to raise awareness about White Ribbon Day that celebrates the many men willing to show leadership and commitment to promote safe, healthy relationships within families and to encourage men to challenge each other on attitudes and behaviours that are abusive.

© Scoop Media

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