Tino Rangatiratanga flag flown in Wellington

IN THE BREEZE: The Tino Rangatiratanga flag flies alongside the New Zealand flag on Waitangi Day.
IN THE BREEZE: The Tino Rangatiratanga flag flies alongside the New Zealand flag on Waitangi Day.

The Tino Rangatiratanga flag is flying in Wellington on Waitangi Day for the first time.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown announced last week that the flag would fly from the Wellington Town Hall complex today, saying it should be the "start of a long-running tradition".

"I urge the Government to give the Tino Rangatiratanga flag the official status it deserves".

The flag could be spotted flying from the Michael Fowler Centre from early this morning.

Although the Maori flag does not have official status, Ms Wade-Brown said it was good that it be flown together with the New Zealand national flag on the country's national day of celebration.

It was appropriate to fly the flag from the capital's civic buildings on Monday because it was also the first time Wellington would host the country's Waitangi celebrations and the diplomatic corps, she said.

Other Waitangi Day celebrations are starting to kick off around the capital this morning.

Up to 35,000 people, including Governor-General Sir Jerry Mataparae, will attend the Festival of the Elements at Te Rauparaha Park in Porirua.

Later this afternoon, Sir Jerry will deliver his Waitangi Day address from Government House - the first time the address has been given in Wellington since 2006.

A waka showcase, featuring bands and food stalls, is being held at the Wharewaka on Wellington's waterfront, while a scaled-down One Love music festival is set to kick off at Foxglove bar on Queen's Wharf from midday.


* Festival of the Elements: Organisers expect up to 35,000 people to turn up to this family-friendly festival at Te Rauparaha Park, which features music, artwork, a skate competition and cooking demonstrations. The festival began at 11am and runs until 7:30pm. Entry is free.

* Wharewaka festival: A stage at Odlins Plaza, in between Te Papa and Frank Kitt's Lagoon, will host free local acts from 10am, including Toni Huata, Ria Hall and reggae band Grove Roots. There are also food stalls, crafts, a waka display and haka performances.

* One Love: A scaled-down version of the popular party is being held at Foxglove bar, on Queen's Wharf, from midday. Traditionally a celebration of Bob Marley's birthday, featuring reggae and dub acts, the music selection is broader this year, organisers said. The party is free and runs until late tonight.

* Historic Wrights Hill Fortress in Karori is open to the public today until 4pm. Free maps are available to guide you through the 620 metres of tunnels, shell stores, engine room and gun pits.

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