A special dawn service at Hopukiore (Mount Drury) commemorating the signing of the Te Tiriti o Waitangi is one of the key events planned in Tauranga this Waitangi Weekend.

The dawn service starts at 6.30am with a karakia (blessing) by Tangata Whenua, followed by a community service and open forum that gives participants a chance to share their thoughts on Waitangi Day.

Road closures will be in place on Saturday from 5am until 10am on Marine Parade from Grace Avenue to Pacific Avenue.

Each year, local kaumatua and kuia, supported by rangatahi (young people) and clergy from community church groups, have joined together on Waitangi Day for a dawn service.

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The event was initiated by Maori elders and members of the Tauranga Moana District Maori Council in the late 1970s, and continues to play a significant part in Tauranga's historical heritage.

The organising committee has received funding from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Tauranga City Council to support the service.

Tauranga's roads and public transport network will be busy over the weekend, so please plan your travel in advance and allow extra time.