Presented by Wellington City Council, the annual event will kick-off with a whānau film night on Friday 5 February, including a selection of short films, followed by the hugely popular feature film Poi E.
Then on Saturday 6 February, there’ll be an award-winning line-up of Māori performers, food and culture, including local legend Louis Baker headlining on the Waitangi Park stage.
The national holiday on 6 February is a highly anticipated date on New Zealand calendars, says Mayor Andy Foster.
“We are commemorating this historic occasion with kai, family and friends in Waitangi Park which previously was a significant site used for centuries by Māori as a source of food and water, and to launch waka.
“In the present day, Waitangi Park is both an important Māori landmark and is increasingly popular with residents and visitors as a space for recreation and leisure.”
Soulful singer-songwriter Louis Baker grew up in Newtown and is looking forward to returning to his hometown to play.
“Wellington is my hometown and I've lived here all my life, so it's an important part of the tapestry. It has a certain way of grounding you, and my whānau lives here too, so it really is home.
“My favourite part about playing Te Whanganui-a-Tara is when the crowd sings along with my songs, it's an atmosphere like no other. Mix all of that in with the incredible band I have the pleasure of playing with, and it's a huge buzz! I'm super excited about this show.”
Louis will be joined by other local talent including Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna, Tomorrow People, Valley Kids, Sianne Dougherty, The Profile, Majic Paora, and King Homeboy.
Wellington City Council’s Head of Māori Strategic Relationships Karepa Wall says one of the highlights of Waitangi Day is seeing our city’s diverse community coming together to celebrate our indigenous culture and acknowledge the long history of our capital city.
“Wellington is such a diverse and innovative city, and Waitangi Day encourages us all to reflect on our culture, our aspirations, our values of our city as a whole, and weave these together for the benefits of not only our hapū within Te Whanganui-a-Tara, but all calling this our home.
“Ka tere paepae ai te motu nei, ka tikina rā te tātua o Rongorongo, kua rite hoki te whaitua o rēhia, ā, tō naianei nā – me tere tō hoe i tō waka ki Waitangi Park – let’s sit together, indulge in some delish indigenous food, games, music and make sure we get a Hāngī before they sell out!”
Te Rā o Waitangi is proudly brought to you by Wellington City Council. Make sure you come down to Waitangi Park, Saturday 6 February 12 noon to 6pm.
To find out more go to wellington.govt.nz/waitangi and for the Summer City programme go to wellington.govt.nz/events.