Day of celebration draws big crowd

00:00, Feb 07 2013

About 1000 people headed to Motueka's Te Awhina Marae yesterday to share food, enjoy entertainment, learn about the Maori culture and celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The festival was held on the grounds behind the marae and spread over a large semi-circle of stalls. At the centre was an area for singing and dancing, including a performance by Wakatu Incorporation's Kono horticulture Tongan cultural group.

Te Awhina Marae tumuaki (manager) Ann Martin said it was a day to celebrate the signing of the Treaty and bring all people of all races in New Zealand together.

"We didn't just have the recognised seasonal employer workers from Tonga there, but people from the Netherlands, Japan and South Africa, who came to share the Maori culture."

Ms Martin said there was a lot of interest in the two public powhiri held during the day, especially by those new to New Zealand. The powhiri gave people an opportunity to be formally welcomed onto a marae and experience the culture.

"The feedback was really positive and it was a great day. The weather helped, of course, and I'd like to thank all those who came and supported the day," she said.

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The Nelson Mail