Te Anau’s Waitangi Day a standout

Joe Slade (left) and Paora Adams of the Nga Hau e Wha Kapa Haka group in Invercargill re-enacting the tangata whenua's initial interaction with Captain James Cook, played by George Batchelor, and Tahitian navigator Tupaia, played by Nepia Tauri. PHOTO: Cl

Te Anau's first Waitangi Day celebrations were a standout, thanks to strong crowd numbers, good weather and plenty of activities on offer.

The day kicked off before 9am when around 200 people spread out along the Lake Te Anau foreshore to witness a re-enactment of Captain Cook's first arrival to New Zealand near Gisborne.

The day followed with speeches, entertainment, sports, food and seminars focused on celebrating and learning from New Zealand's history and culture.

Following the lakeside reenactment, the crowd was taken to the lawns in front of the Department of Conservation’s Fiordland National Park visitor centre, where the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi was re-enacted.

Ray Willett (left), Peter McMurtrie, and Craig McMurtrie as Henry Willams, William Hobson, and James Busby, respectively, at the Treaty re-enactment. PHOTO: Jo Lundman

Speakers and singers followed suit, including a rousing dual language speech given by Hurihia Tawaroa of Invercargill about respecting each others’ differences.

The day continued in full force with the Lake Te Anau swim seeing a new record set by 17-year-old Flynn Sinclair of Invercargill, coming home in 24 minutes, 2 seconds.

Lions’ Park set the stage for a myriad of stalls, live entertainment, and a hangi.

Paora Adams (left), Mereana Edwin and Ahna Jo Pikia-Slade demonstrate poi as part of a fundraiser for their Nga Hau E Wha Kapa Haka group. 

At other sites, live chats were held throughout the afternoon by local history and veteran DOC ranger Ken Bradley, Kea Conservation Trust chairwoman Tamsin Orr-Walker, and University of Otago Emeritus Professor Sir Alan Mark.

Te Anau Waitangi Day Committee chairman Dr Steve Bentley said the committee had got excellent feedback on the event and were chuffed at the strong turnout. They were also lucky with the good weather that came over the town that day as well, he said.

Meanwhile in Bluff, the Te Rau Aroha Marae hosted the Ngai Tahu Treaty Festival this year, with National Party leader Bill English in attendance.

In addition to the powhiri and Waitangi Day address, there was a screening of a new, narrated version of Fiordland Cinema’s Ata Whenua, narrated by Sir Tipene O’Regan, and a film and a presentation on the Ngai Tahu Cultural Mapping project.


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