Hapū from around the Far North are expected to gather by the shores of Hokianga Harbour today to mark the second, and largest, signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
More than 60 chiefs signed Te Tiriti at Mangungu Mission Station on February 12, 1840, many more than the 43 who put their tohu [sign] to parchment six days earlier at Waitangi.
Despite the scale and importance of the signing at Mangungu, South Hokianga, it has long been eclipsed by events in the Bay of Islands.
This year’s commemorations at Mangungu will also be relatively low-key, but with around 400 people expected to attend instead of the usual 300.
Co-ordinator Lydia Pomare said people usually thought of Waitangi when it came to Te Tiriti, and many didn’t realise the second signing was far larger.
This year’s commemorations are to begin with a haka pōwhiri at 10am, followed by mihimihi [speeches] and karakia [prayers].
Children from the nearby Te Kura o Horeke are to re-enact the signing at noon, while a fleet of up to six waka will perform a salute on the harbour at 12.30pm.
The kaihoe [paddlers] will be welcomed with another pōwhiri at 2.30pm.
The day’s programme concludes with a hākari [feast] around 4.30pm and whakawhānaungatanga [establishing relationships].
Pomare said there will be live music as well as bouncy castles and a waterslide for children.
Two of the waka taking part were based in Hokianga, while the others were coming from as far away as Tūtūkākā, in the Whangārei District, to support the kaupapa.
The Hokianga commemorations will be the first since 2022, with Cyclone Gabrielle forcing the cancellation of last year’s event.
The historic Mangungu Mission Station, established in 1828, is located on Motukiore Road, just west of Horeke in South Hokianga.
An estimated 60,000 people took part in Waitangi Day commemorations in the Bay of Islands this year, with thousands more taking part in the preceding days’ events.