Thousands are expected to attend the South Island’s longest-running Waitangi Day commemoration in Banks Peninsula’s Okains Bay today, following two years of Covid-19-related cancellations.
The community event - co-hosted by Okains Bay Museum and Te Rūnanga o Koukourarata - will be free for the first time since it began in 1976.
Te Rūnanga o Koukourarata chair Mananui Ramsden said organisers did not want cost to be a barrier to whānau participation, with 2000 to 6000 people expected in the bay.
“This is in keeping with the tikanga of the day as set down by our kaumātua/kuia and an acknowledgement of the wider Ngāi Tahu whānui that have been involved with the Waitangi Day commemorations at Okains Bay throughout its 47-year history.”
The day will include family activities, demonstrations, workshops and exhibits set amongst Okains Bay’s extensive museum grounds.
Banks Peninsula Ward councillor Tyrone Fields said there would also be a hangi, limited to about 800 people.
“We know it’s going to be a really beautiful day and hopefully lots of people will come out and have a wonderful day in a beautiful part of Banks Peninsula.
“With a big event like this there’s always a bit of nervous optimism going into it, especially after a few years out.”
Okains Bay Museum said the museum grounds, the Ngāi Tahu reserve opposite the museum and the Okains Bay heritage precinct would be open to the public as part of the commemorations.