There's no better way to celebrate Waitangi Day than a festival by the sea and if you want to make the day special, head to the Maketu Kaimoana Festival.

"What makes our festival special is that it is an occasion to celebrate seafood, community, and family with a wonderful seafood venue," said organiser David Campbell of Maketu Rotary.

"People just bring their marquees and blankets and they settle in for the day. We get people coming from Rotorua, Whakatane and Tauranga, and we always get great support from the extended Te Arawa community. It is a great way to celebrate Waitangi Day at the place where Te Arawa traditions first rooted," said Mr Campbell.

This year the festival has a retro vibe and the feature artist is '60s and '70s rock star Shane, singer of the award-winning 1969 hit Saint Paul.


All members of the family are catered for, and kids have a special designated area where there are bouncy castles, face painting, and balloons.

Local operator Aerius Helicopters are also supporters of the event and will be doing helicopter rides at reasonable prices.

"They are always popular and they have queues all day long for the helicopter rides and this is a great help to our fundraising," said Mr Campbell.

The festival returns home to the Maketu Sports Ground this year, and is the major fundraiser for Maketu Rotary.

Over the years the event has contributed about $90,000 in total for community projects.

These projects included supporting the marae, schools, the local surf club, fire brigade, Coastguard, youth projects as well as local conservation projects.

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This year the festival features a wider range of food vendors as well as a variety of wines and beers to cater for the 2000 people who are expected to attend.

There will also be a range of craft stalls selling work and products from local craftspeople and artists.


* What: Maketu Kaimoana Festival.

* Where: Maketu Sports Ground.

* When: Tomorrow, 12pm-6pm.

* Tickets: $20 adults, $10 kids, under 5 free.