The group planning Whanganui's Waitangi Day this year is developing a programme of activities and learning opportunities, member Kiri Wilson says.
It will be the fifth Waitangi celebration organised by Whakawhanake, and this year the group will have $10,000 funding from Whanganui District Council. The funding is in line with the council's policy "to build community together with iwi".
Details about the programme will be posted on Whakawhanake's Facebook page as the day gets closer. The venue will be the usual triangle of historic riverside reserve known as Pākaitore or Moutoa Gardens.
The day will begin with dawn karakia beside the Whanganui River and continue with a session of Aka, a Māori movement routine similar to tai chi. It will be led by Justin Gush.
The Picnic at the Pā follows at the reserve at 11am, with food and information stalls, live entertainment, face painting, bouncy castles, games and activities.
The Whakawhanake group hopes to build on this in future, so that the event becomes a safe place where people can talk about the Treaty of Waitangi and its relevance now.
"We focus all aspects of this day on bringing the community together, and acknowledge that it is important to look back to move forward," Wilson said.
Anyone who wants to hold a stall on the day can email email@example.com, send a message through its Facebook page or ring Tamahaia Skinner on 027 443 6175. Food and merchandise stalls will pay a non-refundable $40 deposit, but information stalls will be free.
Whakawhanake consists of Wilson, Skinner, Daniel Solomon, Rongomaitawhiri Ah-Ching and Hawea Meihana. All have full-time jobs, with Skinner and Ah-Ching working at schools, another member working for the Ministry of Social Development and two doing contract work. Wilson works with Ngā Wairiki/Ngāti Apa on communication and research.
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All were chosen by their respective iwi to represent them at the rangatahi (youth) forum that takes place when iwi chairs meet at Waitangi every year.
They are all aged between 25 and 35. When they wanted to form a legal structure, a limited company seemed the easiest option.
"Our group was established to fill gaps that are identified by ourselves and others. We contribute into spaces that we feel we can add value to with our skill sets," Wilson said.
Five years ago Whanganui kaumātua John Maihi asked the young leaders to organise Waitangi Day events because nothing had been happening at that time.
They have always, with help, put together stalls, entertainment and activities.
"We have always been really lucky to have the support of many community groups, organisations, businesses and people. The Ministry of Culture and Heritage, Ngā Tai o Te Awa and Whanganui District Council are three that come to mind," Wilson said.