News | 2 February 2024
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Friday Five: Commemorate Waitangi Day in Pōneke

Did you know that Aotearoa has been celebrating Te Rā o Waitangi/Waitangi Day officially since 1934? Here in Pōneke, the Centennial Exhibition took place in Rongotai, between 8 November 1939 and 4 May 1940, to commemorate 100 years since the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

Te Rā o Waitangi is an opportunity to reflect on Te Tiriti and celebrate our partnership between tangata whenua Māori and tangata tiriti (all other New Zealanders here by right of the Treaty whether born in Aotearoa New Zealand or a new migrant).

Here are some ways to commemorate Waitangi Day in the capital.

1. Enjoy our Waitangi Day event

Te Rā o Waitangi will see a great line-up of tangata whenua Māori and tangata te tiriti treaty partner performers on stage with MC Tanea Heke, activities by The Hits radio station team, a Kids Zone, multi-cultural food stalls and trucks. There will also be a fundraiser hāngi from midday – but get in quick, these always sell out fast!

In addition to the performances, the public is invited to view the live painting of a newly commissioned artwork, a collaboration by tangata whenua artist Keri-Mei Zagrobelna (Te Āti Awa/Whānau-ā-Apanui) and tangata tiriti artist Tina Rae Carter (Scottish, Celtic, Nordic, Anglo-Saxon, NZ European). 

Find out more about our Waitangi Day event on our website.

2. Explore some historical sites around Pōneke

Pōneke was inhabited by Māori long before Pākehā reached New Zealand’s shores. Take a walk and visit some remnants of pā in our parks and reserves around the city.

Some roots with historically significant spots include Makara Walkway, the Eastern Walkway and Te Ara o Nga Pā Tupuna.

Event at a school with crowds of people watching the stage.
Kotahi Music Festival at Kahurangi School.

3. Head to the Kotahi Music Festival 

Kahurangi School’s annual Kotahi Music Festival is back on this year on Tuesday 6 February from 2pm to 6pm in Strathmore.

Kotahi is not a school fundraising event but a free, all access koha event with great NZ music and local food. Things will kick off with the Kahurangi Kapa Haka group and an amazing line-up with Mara TK, Sam Manzanza’s Afro beat, Bret McKenzie, the City of Wellington Pipe Band, Wellington Batucada and more!

4. Spend some time learning more about the history of this public holiday

Every year we get a day to celebrate Waitangi Day, but do you know the history behind the signing of this document and the events that followed?

Pop into a Wellington City Library and issue a book about the history of Waitangi Day, or use the eLibrary to access books from the comfort of your own home.

Need somewhere easy to start? Read about the history of Waitangi Day in Pōneke on our website.

Maybe reading isn’t your thing? Don’t let that get in your way of learning. You can listen to a podcast! Try RNZ's The Aotearoa History Show or search ‘Waitangi Day’ on your favourite podcast platform.

5. Visit the Te Tiriti o Waitangi: Ngā tohu kotahitanga exhibition at Te Papa museum

Are you more of a visual learner? Pop in to Te Papa to learn more about Te Tiriti and how it shaped relationships between the peoples of Aotearoa. 

You can also visit the original Treaty of Waitangi in the He Tohu exhibition at National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets.

Some of our facilities and services have reduced opening hours during holiday periods, so make sure to check out our holiday hours page before heading out.

Watch out each Friday for a fun list of five great activities to do, places to explore, or things to discover in our awesome city.