In a break with a 15-year tradition - there will be no reggae music at Pātea's Paepae in the Park Waitangi Day celebration on February 6 this year.

"We decided as a group we didn't want to hear reggae all day long, so we changed the format quite dramatically," Paepae in the Park committee secretary Mareta Marsters-Grubner said.

Instead the entertainment will include a brass band, a marching team, a rock group and two country and western acts. It will be a smoke-free, alcohol-free family day in the small central Pātea park, with spot prizes sponsored by local businesses and about 28 stalls selling food and craft.

"Our answer to everybody is - if you want more music on, then join the committee," Marsters-Grubner said.


Expense has been a big factor in the committee's decision.

"Reggae bands are asking far too much. It's taking half our budget. We really wanted to get some top headliners. A couple of them wanted over $17,000," Marsters-Grubner said.

The committee has less than $30,000 to spend on the event. Funding is from South Taranaki District Council and its tangata whenua liaison fund, and from the Lotteries Commission.

The day begins at 9am with a pōwhiri where council staff and councillors will speak, and be welcomed by a local Taikura group. Then Whanganui group Harmony Showdown play, followed by young people from the Te Arakamu marching team.

"They're really dynamic, a real step-up type of marching," Marsters-Grubner said.

Then it's Ngatama, a Hāwera country and western group, followed by the Pātea Māori Club at 1pm - another tradition of the day. After that country and western singer Ainslie Allen takes the stage, followed by Taranaki rock band Laconic Zephyr, who have had three number ones on iTunes.

The day finishes about 5pm, with tunes from the Hāwera Brass Band.

• In Whanganui the Whakawhanake group is again organising Waitangi Day commemorations at Pākaitore/Moutoa Gardens.


Their Picnic at the Pā runs from 11am to 3pm. There will be food and information stalls, entertainment and activities provided by local groups, Kiri Wilson said.

The Whakawhanake group is Wilson, Daniel Solomon, Tamahaia Skinner, Rongomaitawhiri Ah Ching and Hawea Meihana. It did not apply for Ministry for Culture and Heritage funding this year.

Whanganui District Council spokeswoman Marama Laurenson said the council was delighted to contribute funding to the Waitangi Day celebrations this year under the aegis of Te Runanga o Tupoho, led by Whakawhanake.

"The Council appreciates that the Treaty is the founding document of the nation and looks forward to wider community engagement in the celebrations of Waitangi Day. Whakawhanake's objectives include the encouragement of the whole community to take part," she said.

Anyone who wants to have a stall on the day can email