A day of Te Ao Māori at Piritahi Marae

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Piritahi Hau Ora team produced another memorable Waitangi Day of manaakitanga at Piritahi marae in Blackpool on 6 February. Over 400 people took part in the welcoming pōwhiri, and after a cup of tea to complete the process, they enjoyed rousing kapa haka performances from Piritahi Child Care, Te Huruhi Primary and Waiheke High School’s Piringakau group.

Many returning residents chose Piritahi Marae to celebrate Waitangi Day, and the mix of old and new faces were grateful for the cloud-covered weather that dampened the worst of the summer heat. 

In an effort to protect the environment and reduce waste even further, the serving of the hāngī reverted back to service from a long table with all kai served by the Hau Ora team, rather than the individually cooked meals-for-one of previous years. A long line of hungry diners filled their recyclable containers to enjoy the traditional hāngī on the grassy lawns of the marae.

The speakers’ forum was a great success, with an informative and eye-opening Tiriti o Waitiangi presentation and discussion with Bianca Ranson. The day’s discussions also included Indigenous Response to Climate Change, Kaitiakitanga and Ihumātao, with the main message from all speakers being to ensure the right questions are asked of New Zealands leaders regarding climate change and real action taken. Over 60 people eagerly attended and contributed to discussion on the day. 

The Waitangi Day participants also were able to experience waka ama, raranga (weaving) and tā moko (tattoo) in a day of Te Ao Māori. 

“Waitangi day is not a day to celebrate,” said Bianca, “but a day to remember and reflect on what we have done and what we can do.” •

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