Puanga, the Māori New year, was celebrated in Stratford with a range of events, culminating in a market day on Saturday.

People wrote their aspirations and goals on orange paper provided for te tau hou - the new year and placed them on the Puanga rakau.
People wrote their aspirations and goals on orange paper provided for te tau hou - the new year and placed them on the Puanga rakau.

Kate Whareaitu, Stratford District Council director of Community Services, says while it was the first year the Council has done something with the community for Puanga, it won't be the last.

"We're really proud of the Puanga celebrations that have taken place this year, including the flag competition, Tot Time at the Library, market day and our community rakau.

"These celebrations have laid a good foundation and we now hope to build on this each year. Thanks to the whānau at Whakaahurangi Marae, TSB Community Trust, and the Māori Women's Welfare League."

Advertisement
Gaby Grendon (5) enjoyed the face and hand painting on offer at the market.
Gaby Grendon (5) enjoyed the face and hand painting on offer at the market.

The market drew a large crowd throughout the morning, with people enjoying the opportunity to shop, while also enjoying live entertainment and craft demonstrations.

Margaret Paki Paki-Patene and her granddaughter in law Nic Willis were at the market, with other members of the Whakaahurangi Maori Women's Welfare League, giving a demonstration of flax weaving.
Margaret Paki Paki-Patene and her granddaughter in law Nic Willis were at the market, with other members of the Whakaahurangi Maori Women's Welfare League, giving a demonstration of flax weaving.

Margot Hewson was one of the shoppers enjoying the day.

She had come from New Plymouth to watch grandchildren in a sports match, and said she was thrilled to see a busy market underway.

"I thought I would grab a coffee and have a little look at the shops, but came around the corner and there as soup being given out, a musician singing beautifully and so many great little market stalls. It was a lovely way to spend an hour or so and I really enjoyed it."

The free pumpkin soup served was popular.
The free pumpkin soup served was popular.