On February 6 in 1840 rangatira chiefs in the Bay of Islands signed the Treaty of Waitangi with the British Crown.

During the course of that year Kahungunu chiefs also signed the Treaty at various places in Hawke's Bay including the mouth of the Tukituki River in East Clive on June 20 that same year.

And 179 years later we celebrate this remarkable occasion of nationhood with fun, sports and families coming together.

Here in Hawke's Bay we have been celebrating Waitangi Day publicly since 2000. Thousands of New Zealanders in other parts of the country are doing the same and numbers are rising year by year.

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We do have so much to celebrate about our nation and our achievements too.

It's the ninth year Hawke's Bay Sports Park hosts Waitangi Day and hundreds of sports players of all backgrounds will play nines league, touch, netball, 3v3 basketball and Ki-o-rahi, a traditional Māori game that has been revived in recent years.

This is now the single biggest annual event at the sports park attracting up to 10,000 visitors.

An arena stage showcases New Zealand talents with marae kapa haka, young dancers, singers and musicians.

Wellington reggae band Tomorrow People will perform at 3pm to close out the celebrations.

History around the Treaty will be shared on a big screen and live streaming broadcast.

Kai is also a big part of the day, some of it typical Kiwi, hot dog with sauce, Rewena bread, hangi and also exotic foods brought to us by new migrants from all around the world who have now called New Zealand their home as well, and we welcome them all.

We are aiming to be a sustainable event too and currently divert 86 per cent of our waste from the landfill. We provide free water hydration stations and remind everyone to pack their own refillable water bottles.

Hawke's Bay health and service providers will share the latest and greatest tips on better living, and are providing a free drinking water tanker for hydrating.

Free rides all day on thrill and family rides mounted by Huntly-based Kiwi amusement operator Mahons will be a major drawcard funded by Ngāti Kahungunu.

We do have lots to celebrate. It is our nation's birthday. Happy 179 years New Zealand. Happy Waitangi Day Hawke's Bay.

• Funded by Ministry of Heritage and Culture, Clubs Hastings, Hastings District Council, Te Puni Kōkiri, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc.

Waitangi Day family celebrations
8am to 4pm Wednesday, February 6
Hawke's Bay Sportspark
42 Percival Rd, Hastings