Taranaki hums for national holiday

A picture perfect Taranaki summer drew residents out in the thousands as they flocked to various Waitangi Day activities held in the region yesterday.

Tupare's annual Waitangi Day Garden Fair and Walk had more than 2000 visitors soaking up the day's atmosphere filled with live music by musicians Juliet McLean and Missie Moffat.

The crowd sampled foods, admired arts and crafts on sale, and also took part in a host of other activities.

Puke Ariki Landing was a hive of activity as families gathered for two hours of entertainment and education on the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Back at Tupare, volunteer group Stitches for Britches continued their fundraising efforts for their trip to Nepal in March. The group wants to set up a sewing workshop there to equip Nepalese women with sewing skills.

Founder Robin Drake, of Inglewood, said money raised on the day was enough for another sewing machine. "It was just lovely," Mrs Drake said.

"There was an incredible interest from the public who were keen to support the project."

The group will also be at Hollard Gardens Harvest Festival on March 10 for a final round of fundraising before packing up for their month-long journey.

Taranaki Regional Council regional gardens events facilitator Clare Mewse said it was another "fantastic day" at the gardens.

"The weather was with us again," she said.

Paepae in the Park a day to join together

The true spirit of Waitangi Day was on display at Patea's Paepae in the Park yesterday.

Memorial Park, under the shadow of the Aotea Memorial waka, was transformed into a melting pot of ages, races and backgrounds as thousands turned out for a relaxing day of sunshine and entertainment at the 10-hour festival.

The festival offered a twist on traditional celebrations by bringing people together to share in music as well as New Zealand's history. Entertainment included the world- famous Patea Maori Club.

Stalls selling arts, crafts, sunglasses and clothing lined the park's perimeter, and food including burgers, sausages, sushi, kebabs and nachos was available.

Patea's Ivy Phillips was selling curly-wirlys, a lightly battered, deep fried frankfurter on a stick surrounded by spiralled potato, as an experiment.

"My daughter said try it out because it's a hot seller over in Perth," Ms Phillips said.

They proved popular in Patea too, with Ms Phillips saying she had been flat-out all day.

She said Waitangi Day meant a day of people coming together to celebrate.

"People joining together as one."

Cherie Walker was enjoying the welcoming atmosphere with her daughter Alexis, 2, describing the day as awesome. "It's good just to chill out in a great atmosphere with people enjoying themselves."

Taranaki Daily News