Waitangi Day poi performance pleases crowd

CROWD-PLEASER: Poi competition at the Palmerston North Waitangi day event.
David Unwin/ Fairfax NZ

CROWD-PLEASER: Poi competition at the Palmerston North Waitangi day event.

Manawatu people have soaked up some culture at this year's Waitangi Day celebrations.

Hundreds filtered through Te Manawa for the annual Te Ra o Waitangi or Waitangi Day commemorations yesterday.

The day started with a formal welcome, karakia, or prayer, and the raising of both the Rangitaane and the New Zealand flags. It finished with a hikoi, or march, another karakia and the lowering of the flags.

Special mention was made that 2015 marked the 175th year of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Te Manawa's car park was taken over by people exploring various activities, including poi making, flax weaving and hangi tasting.

Te Ao Pritchard, from Te Manawa, said the day's lineup was aimed at getting the community mixing and mingling.

"The whole day everyone was able to interact, enjoy and have fun," she said.

"Hopefully people have be exposed to a whole different variety of cultures, activities and people."

A long lineup of artists made for a diverse afternoon of entertainment, but it was a children's poi performance that had the crowd clapping.

The annual ti rakau challenge - which normally had crowds coming to play the Maori stick game - was replaced by a poi performance.

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A small handful of children took to the stage to show off their poi swinging skills.

Palmerston North woman Kelly Hancock stayed for the day of activities and brought six children from her extended family with her.

"The entertainment has been great, we've been sitting here all day just enjoying it all," she said.

"Normally we don't do anything for Waitangi Day, but it was nice to have a day with family."

Justise Jones, 14, said: "It's about bringing different cultures together."

Tara Johnson, who attended with her daughter, said Waitangi was a day to spend with family.

"It's great that it's all about Maori, whanau, culture, tamariki and building our future."

Te Manawa chief executive Andy Lowe said it was a chance to celebrate being a New Zealander and the country's shared heritage. "We can have a whole bunch of music and a concert and some amazing fun together but it's about people learning about the Treaty as well."

Rongotea marks Waitangi: Page 4

 - Manawatu Standard

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