Waitangi Day at Okahu Bay

The Waitangi Day celebration at Okahu Bay hosted by Ōrākei in partnership with the Auckland City Council is becoming a ‘must’ on Aucklanders’ summer festival calendar.

Thousands turned out to recognise the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The weather was hot and sunny, and people of all ages enjoyed a range of activities from traditional food stalls, arts and crafts stalls to a separate entertainment stage for the tamariki. Live entertainment included popular groups such as Herbs, Three Houses Down, 1814 and Cornerstone Roots.

The opportunity to enjoy good food and music and to catch up with whanau was a key draw card for the many people that turned out.

The festival was also promoted as a ‘zero waste’ event and with the combined efforts of the organizers, stall holders and audience, managed to achieve the goal of leaving Okahu Bay in a pristine condition.

The first Ngāti Whātua Festival was held late last year in November, at the North Harbour Stadium in Auckland. Organised by Mauri Ora ki Ngāti Whātua with the support of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua, it was an opportunity for whanau Ngāti Whātua to gather together and celebrate their identity.

The two-day event included a ball and inter-tribal tournaments including touch rugby and rugby league. Entertainment included kapa haka performances and the band De Ja Vu. There were also a number of stalls present, ranging from health and educational displays through to crafts and food.

Both Ngāti Whātua whanau and non Ngāti Whātua were encouraged to participate in the event with the opportunity to celebrate, share and learn about the cultural heritage of the Iwi. The chance to be a part of the festival and catch up with whanau, Ngāti Whātua whanui and the wider Maori community proved to be an attractive option for the many people who took part.