Waitangi Day Wellington – it’s a family affair

1 February 2016

This year, Te Rā o Waitangi is going to be bigger than ever. Presented by Wellington City Council, the annual celebration will be hosted by popular MC Frankie Stevens, with DJ Ayesha keeping the good vibes rolling throughout the day.

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Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is looking forward to this year’s celebrations.

“Wellington’s Waitangi Day is always a positive experience,” she says. “The Treaty recognises a unique partnership between Māori and Pākehā.”

“Performances that feature traditional Maori culture and evolving art forms will provide a display of the many talents on show,” she says.

Te Rā o Waitangi is an opportunity to feel the power of Aotearoa’s traditional dance and song en masse with kapa haka groups. Ngāti Pōneke Young Māori Club was one of the first kapa haka clubs in Aotearoa and their proud history is evident in their award-winning performances, while Te Kura Kaupapa o Ngā Mokopuna will see the kids taking centre stage.

Grove Roots have been around since 2005 but they are pulling out all the stops for a special performance at Te Rā o Waitangi. Expect music, drama, taonga pūoro, taiaha, kapa haka, strings, classic covers, originals, and the incredible voice of newcomer Sianne Dougherty. Sianne blew the Meridian Gardens Magic audience away with her Summer City performance at the Soundshell.

Councillor Paul Eagle, Chair of the Council’s Community, Sport and Recreation Committee, says Te Rā o Waitangi is always a summer highlight.

“It’s a chance for every Wellingtonian to have a Maori experience and celebrate the day in their own special way. It’s not just the kapa haka, dance and this year’s headliner acts I’m looking forward to, I’d check out the Maori kai – whitebait fritters and hangi” he says.

2015 X Factor winner Beau Monga’s name might be more familiar than those of his parents, but mum and dad Betty Anne and Ryan Monga are founding members of one of New Zealand’s most enduring bands, the legendary Ardijah. The Monga whānau are heading to Wellington for Te Rā o Waitangi and audiences can expect the beatboxing and vocal percussion Beau is known for, as well as the soulful reggae-infused hits that have made Ardijah iconic.

Actor and award-winning playwright Jamie MacAskill will add another string to his prodigious bow, leading the inaugural performance of brand-new Māori showband The Māori Sidesteps.

Wellington City Council Event Coordinator Suzanne Tamaki says the mix of talent on stage this year means there is something for all the whānau.

And if the music isn’t enough to entice the crowds, the ever-popular fried-bread whitebait sandwiches, boil-up and hangi will have Wellingtonians lining up. You’ll need to be early for the steaming-fresh hangi, it’s a sell-out every year.

Other events to be enjoyed on Waitangi Day are waka tours, storytelling and live music at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke, Whairepo Lagoon or take your views to Waitangi Alert 2016 on the Wellington waterfront. Tangata shows at Academy Galleries for an exhibition of works by Māori artists 2-14 Feb. The popular Waitangi Day: Festival of the Elements in Porirua will be staged at Te Rauparaha Park.

Te Rā o Waitangi is proudly brought to you by Wellington City Council and Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust. Make sure you come down to Waitangi Park, Saturday 6 February 12 noon to 6pm.

To find out more and for the Summer City programme go to wellington.govt.nz/events.