Te Kaunihera-ā-Rohe o Ngāmotu is going big for this year’s Waitangi Day celebrations.
There will be big questions, big names, big community input and a gigantic tablecloth for New Plymouth District Council’s communal picnic on Puke Ariki Landing.
Celebrations kick off with a Community Kōrero Workshop Series on 2 and 3 February.
These three free workshops are being held in the Noel and Melva Yarrow Education Room at Puke Ariki so people can learn about the Te Tiriti o Waitangi, how to implement it in their home and life and explore identity and growing roots in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
On Sunday, 5 February, Radio New Zealand’s Kim Hill will be hosting a one-hour panel discussion in the Puke Ariki Foyer asking the question – what does it mean to be us?
The panel will be made up of four well-known people (yet to be named) and the discussion kicks off at 1.30pm.
This will be aired on Waitangi Day during Hill’s live 8am to noon broadcast from Puke Ariki, where she will be joined by Alexander Turnbull Library Māori curator Paul Diamond for a kōrero with invited guests.
Members of the public are invited to be part of the audience for both the Sunday and Monday radio sessions, which are tied in with the Sounds Like Us exhibition now on at Puke Ariki. Entry is free for the broadcasts, but seating is limited.
The Waitangi Day events fit perfectly with the aims of the combined library, museum, information and research centre, says Puke Ariki manager Fi Emberton.
“Puke Ariki is a place for the community to hear other people’s opinions, points of view and to broaden minds,” Fi says. “That’s the business we are in and to talk about what it means to be a New Zealander now and in the future.”
From 11am to 1pm there will be a family picnic featuring a 60m-long tablecloth made especially for Waitangi Day and printed with 50 commonly used Māori words
The one-metre-wide cloth will be laid the length of the Landing for people to place their kai on during the shared BYO lunch.
While enjoying the picnic, people will be asked to write down answers to the question: “What is something that your family can do to honour the Treaty of Waitangi?”
There will also be musical entertainment from groups, including Soulovus and some of the top multi-cultural performers in Taranaki.
Mayor Harry Duynhoven says the events give the wider community the chance to come together for discussion and entertainment.
“The Treaty of Waitangi is at the heart of our identity as an independent nation and these events are a great way to get people talking about the treaty’s relevance and importance in our lives today,” says the Mayor.
“It’s also about celebrating being New Zealanders. I’m looking forward to seeing the landing packed for the picnic, and hearing what people have to say in the panel discussion and Community Kōrero series.”
Nau mai haere mai!