Waitangi Day Festival

A celebration of Waitangi Day will be held in two locations across Tauranga on Wednesday, February 6.

Live music, food stands and cultural performances will feature at both Mount Drury and the Tauranga Historic Village.

The free “sea and village” event also includes art exhibitions and workshops.

He Iwi Kotahi is a collaboration of local organisations that have joined forces in the making of this event, and there’s the potential of more in the future, led by Buddy Mikaere.

Translated, He Iwi Kotahi means ‘we are one people’. These words resonated from the signing of the Treaty on February 6, 1840, which signified the establishment of a hoped-for new relationship, with Maori and Pakeha as one.

“Making that ‘one people’ relationship has been a challenge that has faced us ever since,” says Buddy.

“We believe that rather than focusing on the difference between us, we should use this day to focus more on the things that bring us together.

“Overall, we really want to emphasise that this is a family event created by locals, for locals. It’s a day not just for Maori but for all other nationalities that make up Tauranga Moana. We want people to come along and celebrate in unity, by immersing themselves in art, music and culture.”

The musical line-up is being organised by Adam McLean, and Jeff Kildare, who has been busy recently as the backline manager for the One Love Festival.

Beginning at 10am and running until 4pm, the Historic Village will feature Whirimako Black and Justin Kereama, Te Kapa Haka o Ngati Ranginui, Peri Kohu, Soulsax, JJ Mist and Regan Perry.

The Tauranga Martial Arts Academy will be giving a Taekwon-Do demonstration, and The Incubator Gallery and Studios will be showing a Waitangi themed exhibition.

The People’s Gallery – Toi ka rere – also at the Village, has an exhibition titled Te ha o Waitaiki, which launched on January 23 and runs until February 11. This exhibition is a celebration of Maori Art, and introduces emerging artists Te Pae Kuka and Kath Lousich to a Tauranga audience.

A poi making workshop will be offered at the Village, along with workshops on Raranga creating small harakeke objects, art activities for children and a Taonga puoro demonstration showcasing traditional Maori musical instruments.

Raranga is a very old art that is practised in many parts of the world. The first Pacific settlers – the ancestors of Maori – brought this technique to Aotearoa. Raranga was originally used to make practical items for survival, like rope, fishing nets and baskets.

Over time, it developed into a highly specialised art, and raranga artists began creating objects of great status. They even adapted the technique to make cloaks.

At Hopukiore – Mount Drury – the Waitangi Day celebrations begin with a dawn ceremony. Following this, the all-day music event running from 10am to 6pm will feature The Maori Volcanics, Direct Descendents, Left Hand Break, Doc Brown, The Hype, Social Wowfare, DJ Ed-X, The Sweetleaf Trio, Copper Feel and The Troublemakers.

A free bus will run between both sea and village venues, and the public is invited to bring family, friends and a picnic blanket. The event is free, but people are asked to bring a koha (donation) towards fundraising for the Te Kapa Haka o Ngati Ranginui group to attend and perform at Te Matatini 2019 in late February.