February 6th marks Waitangi Day in New Zealand. It celebrates (some would say commemorates) the day in 1840 when Maori chiefs from tribes around New Zealand met on the grounds of Waitangi to sign a treaty with the British Crown which was then taken around the country to be signed by 530-540 Maori. It’s been contentious ever since due to translation and for reasons you can read on Wikipedia (!) and Kiwis look longingly at the way our Aussie neighbours celebrate Australia Day on January 26th and wish we could have the same sense of coming together to celebrate our awesome little country.
So, setting aside the politics, this post is to let you know about some of the many great events that are being put on to do exactly that: celebrate New Zealand this Waitangi Day!
Waitangi Treaty Grounds, 5am-5pm
A dawn service kicks off events at the hallowed grounds at Waitangi (a stroll from Paihia) in Te Whare Rūnanga, the carved meeting house. Entertainment at three different areas of the grounds all day: Upper Treaty Grounds, Waka Stage and the Sports Field opposite the Treaty Grounds. There are 150 market stalls with art, craft, clothing and plenty of food for sale. Children’s activities include bouncy castles, kids racing cars and sports games. Click here for more info >>
Okahu Bay, 10am-3pm
Featuring live music, kai (food) and entertainment at Orakei Reserve. Bring a picnic blanket and set up in front of the stage. Visit their Facebook page for more info >>
Hoani Waititi Marae, 9.30am-5pm
Live music from BlackSlate (UK), Katchafire, Aaradhna, The Royal Family, Kings, Moana & The Tribe and loads more. Plus the Wai-QWest Talent Quest. Visit their Facebook page for more info >>
Hayman Park, 9.30am-5pm
Featuring kapa haka, art and crafts and live music from Ardijah, Rob Ruha, Troy Kingi, Adam Whauwhau, Ora Taukamo, Josie Clarke and DJ Manchoo.
Paepae in the Park, Patea, 9am-5pm
A free music festival presented by the Patea Maori Club featuring their competition Kapa Haka group: Aotea Utanganui. The kaumatua’s will open the Powhiri with their sacred waiata followed by a jammed pack day full of music including Hawera Brass Band, Mihirangi, The Set, Quadraphonic, Fire for Glory, Selah Saints feat.Risky, Monique Matthews, Sophia Gottlieb, Hip Hop dancer Cherish Ghee and locals showcasing their talent. Click here for more info >>
Te Rauparaha Arena, 11am-5pm
Featuring art, culture, korero and music from Ladi6, Māori Side Steps, kapa haka, plus interactive art activities, films, food stalls and a skate competition.
Te Ra O Waitangi, Waitangi Park, 12noon-6pm
Come for kai and kapa haka, as well as music from Kirsten Te Rito, Mara TK, Ria Hall and Tunes of I. Cornerstone Roots will launch their Summer Haze EP and some of the Wellington Pasifika Festival stall holders and entertainers will be there. More info here >>
International Kai Festival, Founders Heritage Park, 10.30am-3.30pm
A $2 admission will get you into this event featuring a huge variety of international foods on offer made by families living in the Nelson community. Small portions of food are priced at $3.00 or $6.00 to encourage visitors to try a wide range of each.
Nitro Circus Live, Trafalgar Park, 3pm
Direct from sell out shows across the globe, Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Circus Live, is coming to Nelson for the first time. Featuring 30 of the world’s best extreme athletes in freestyle motocross, BMX and Skate, led by 2 of New Zealand’s own, the only man in the world to have performed a quadruple backflip on a BMX, Jed ‘the warrior’ Mildon and FMX World Champion, Levi Sherwood. Click here for more into and tickets >>
Waikawa Marae, 10am-2pm
Featuring kai (or bring your own picnic), kapa haka, activities, stalls and korero. Cost is a koha (donation).
Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum, 10am-5pm
The 42nd Waitangi event here features a powhiri (traditional welcome) at 10.30am, hangi lunch, children’s races and the paddling of their magnificent waka at 1pm. The museum will be hosting demonstrations all day including bread baking in a traditional clay oven, master weavers, wood chopping and sheep shearing. Plus crafts, stalls, pony rides, lolly scramble, sausage sizzle, espresso coffee, garden bar, cafeteria and more. Click here for more info >>