Te Arawa is well represented at Waitangi's Te Tii marae near Paihia today with two waka and about 50 crew representing the iwi at the national Waitangi Day celebration.

Te Arawa Waka Taua Trust members Paora Te Hurihanganui, Laurie Durand and Pererika Makiha travelled by road with the two waka a few days ago to prepare for the event.

Mr Te Hurihanganui said the waka taua (war canoe) Te Arawa and its crew of 24 paddlers, and a women's waka Te Auhauheke and its crew of 16, would represent the iwi on the water during official ceremonies.

The two Te Arawa waka would be part of a flotilla led by Ngapuhi's 80-seat waka Ngatokimatawhaorua.


"We have been invited up again this year so it's a special time for us. We all love getting out on the water and learn a lot," Mr Te Hurihanganui said.

"We try not to get involved in any of the politics so we spend a lot of time in the 'Tent City' with the other waka crews from around the country."

He said the two waka would paddle around Waitangi, Paihia, Te Tii Bay and surrounding areas with the other waka performing various ceremonies throughout the day.

The waka crews are made up of people of all ages, from 8 or 9-year-olds who are onboard bailing to older kaumatua.

While some members of Te Arawa are away up north, the rest of the iwi and residents of the city can enjoy Waitangi Day celebrations in Rotorua.

Whakarewarewa Thermal Village is holding its eighth annual Waitangi Day celebrations and is hoping to attract more than 3000 people.

Marketing manager Renee Raimona said the event would raise funds for community group Weaving Hope Acceptance Kindness Aroha, that works with children from the village. The event starts at 10am and winds up about 3pm.

A highlight will be the wearable arts, which are based on contemporary and traditional art designs. The event is $18 for visitors and free for locals.


The Ngongotaha Railway Park is also hosting a Waitangi Day celebration from 10am-3pm.
Organiser Lynn Benfell is expecting nearly 2000 people to come along to the whanau-focused event.

"We have free train rides and bouncy castles, we have entertainment. Tuporo Tuhikiterangi Kohanga Reo and a group of students from Western Heights High School will be performing."

Tomorrow, the Rotorua Youth Centre has organised a concert at Whakarewarewa Thermal Village. The youth centre's events and activities co-ordinator Veena Kameta said the smoke, drug and alcohol-free event would focus on the community.

"We have bands Staze, Stella Marris and Open Arms playing, and a guest speaker [talking] about mau raukau, which is a stick game used for self discipline that encourages a whole lot of things, like getting to know yourself and your heritage," she said.