Tauranga residents and visitors can come together at dawn to reflect and learn about the Treaty of Waitangi as Tauranga Moana honours 180 years since the first historic signing this Waitangi Day.
A dawn service will be held on Thursday February 6 at the base of Hopukiore (Mount Drury) to commemorate the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Treaty of Waitangi.
The service will start at 6.30am with a whakatau by Tauranga Moana Tangata Whenua, followed by a community celebration, speeches and hymns.
The service will focus on the importance of partnership between Māori and non-Māori today and in the future. Speakers will include local kaumatua (elders), clergy from community church groups, civic leaders and rangatahi (youth) speakers.
An open forum will give everyone the opportunity to share thoughts on Waitangi Day and what it means to them today. Kapa haka and musical performances will also feature during the celebration.
Road closures will be in place from 5am to 9am on Marine Parade from Grace Ave to Pacific Ave.
Parking will be available for mobility card holders, kaumatua and kuia and other dignitaries on Marine Parade, within the road closure area. Please access the area via Pacific Avenue before 6.30am. The area will be locked from 6.30am until the end of the service at 8.30am.
Tauranga City Council said it was proud to work collaboratively with mana whenua to ensure this important date in our country's history was commemorated year on year. The council works as part of the organising committee alongside the Whareroa Marae Committee, Ngai Tukairangi, Māori Wardens, Te Kohinga Network, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Tauranga Church Community.
The organising committee receives 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.
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Celebrations continue all day at the Tauranga Moana Waitangi Day Festival. This family-friendly event, led by Ngati Pukenga ki Tauranga Iwi Trust, is a collaborative community effort involving many local individuals, groups and organisations.
The 2020 celebration will take place at The Historic Village on 17th Avenue and will open with a whakatau (welcome) by mana whenua and a flag raising ceremony at 10am. The day will include the citizens ceremony for Tauranga's newest kiwis, a special series of talks in the Village Chapel and workshops on the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, including poi making, raranga harakeke weaving, tamariki/rangatahi – children/youth art, surf board carving demonstrations and more.
There will also be live music, cultural performances and food stands, along with art exhibitions and workshops.