Waitangi fest pulls a crowd

By Kyra Dawson

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Hannah Sadd (front) and fellow members of Rise Dance Company having some fun at Youth Centre Waitangi Festival before their performance on stage. Photo / Stephen Parker
Hannah Sadd (front) and fellow members of Rise Dance Company having some fun at Youth Centre Waitangi Festival before their performance on stage. Photo / Stephen Parker

The Rotorua Youth Centre's second Waitangi Day Festival was a big hit on Saturday, with lots of activities and entertainment for all ages.

Youth co-ordinator Alan Solomon said he was rapt with the whole event.

"It was a bit touch-and-go with the rain for a while, but I had a chat with the big guy upstairs and it worked out nicely."

He told the Rotorua Daily Post before the festival he wanted it to be a signature event for the centre.

"It is the day for Aotearoa to celebrate the coming-together of our two cultures and it is vital to keep the wairua [spirit] of Waitangi alive, especially now we are such a diverse multicultural country," Mr Solomon said.

There was an abundance of activities on offer including giant Jenga, H20 rounders, a basketball competition, volleyball, tug o' war, a massive chess set and face painting.

The festival featured live and local entertainment including three bands, a youth band, two solo singers and a rapper.

"The best part was the performances of all our young people. They were amazing. It's the young people that make an event worthy," Mr Solomon said.

There was also belly dancing, two hip hop groups and a karate demonstration.

Acts involved in the entertainment included The Rise Dance Company from Tauranga, Stave and Stella Maris.

Food stalls, hangi and a barbecue were also keeping everyone well fed at the event.

Mr Solomon said the festival wouldn't have been possible without the help of local businesses that donated more than $1000 worth of prizes.

The festival was steadily growing with about 300 people coming along, which was double last year's number, Mr Solomon said.

Mondayised holidays:

* Today is a public holiday for Waitangi Day on Saturday.

* The Labour Party's Mondayisation Bill, to transfer Waitangi Day and Anzac Day holidays to a Monday when they fall on a weekend, passed its final reading in Parliament by one vote on April 18, 2013.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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