Crowds celebrate at Te Manawa

CELEBRATE: Waitangi Day celebrations at Te Manawa.
CELEBRATE: Waitangi Day celebrations at Te Manawa.

Thousands of people gathered at Te Manawa in Palmerston North for Waitangi Day celebrations, including people playing ti rakau, a Maori stick game.

Members of Te Tu Mataora kapa haka group were on hand throughout the day to help teach the routine. It accompanied the song Tu Tira Mai Nga Iwi and was created by Te Manawa's kaihautu Manu Kawana.

There was a day of activities, stalls, food and exhibits and a steady throng remained after the mass ti rakau gathering to watch Te Tu Mataora's performance. Fittingly, there was a Treaty of Waitangi question-and-answer session.

About 4500 people went through Te Manawa for the recent Harvest Festival and its chief executive Andy Lowe thought more attended yesterday. There was also a hangi and Te Manawa's historic buildings were open. Many took advantage of the back-of-house tours to get a better look at the place.

Mr Lowe said holding such events at Te Manawa was a deliberate strategy. "For us it's about making this place useful and important to the community and part of their daily lives."

Next up at Te Manawa is International Women's Day on March 8.

"We're going to have things here like women carpenters running workshops for women. There will be a lot of things like that," Mr Lowe said.

Manawatu Standard