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A Waitangi week full of celebrations

Waitangi Day celebrations during the past week saw hundreds of people attend various events across the region.

Two marae opened their doors on Waitangi Day while Masterton District Council, in collaboration with local iwi, hosted events in the days prior.

About 200 people travelled to Hau Ariki Marae in Martinborough on Waitangi Day to celebrate the occasion and the community.

Hau Ariki Committee Chair Kevin Haunui said it was a “fantastic day to celebrate and commemorate”, with additional celebrations in order for Martinborough local Trevor Hawkins, who received a Queen’s Service Medal [QSM] in the New Year’s Honours.

Haunui said Hawkins was a “fantastic example of a person in the community who gives, for Māori and non-Māori as well”.

Historian Gareth Winter spoke at the event to provide information about Wairarapa and the impact of the Treaty of Waitangi on the region.

Haunui said the day was about exploring what the Treaty of Waitangi means to the Martinborough community and the local impacts.

He said the day was also an opportunity for the community to consider and have an ongoing conversation about te Tiriti o Waitangi and that it would be an ongoing conversation.

It was all about opening the door for people to learn and connect while considering “how do we both honour and support the Treaty of Waitangi?”

David Kershaw and Brian Jephson spoke about Trevor and his service to the community on the day.

Hurunui-o-Rangi Marae in Gladstone welcomed about 500 people to a day that was all about celebrating Waitangi Day with whānau and friends.

One of the day’s 50 organisers, Marlene Matiaha Paewai, said the Gladstone and Carterton communities had been “amazing to work with” and the day was about coming together in a fun and embracing environment.

Waitangi celebrations in Wairarapa weren’t strictly delegated to the day; Masterton District Council partnered with Rangitāne o Wairarapa and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa to bring a Whanau Day to Masterton, an Amazing Race-style event for community agencies, and a series of interviews highlighting a diverse range of opinions on Waitangi Day from eight local Wairarapa Māori.

With funding from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, the collaboration between MDC and local iwi created Waitangi Day Reflections – a series of interviews about Waitangi Day that are available to watch on the MDC Facebook page.

The Treaty Trails event saw 14 teams from nine organisations gathering clues at 12 historic locations around Wairarapa in a day that was all about “partnership, participation, and sharing knowledge,” according to Renee Rimene of Rangitāne o Wairarapa.

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