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Wednesday, 20 March 2019 12:56 pm

Thousands at Porirua foreshore for Waitangi Day

Feb 6th, 2018 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, News, Top Picture

Making the most of the harbour breeze, one of the stall set up teams who have been hard at work since 6.30am today, (from left) Rebecca McGill, Landa Tolai, Menime Aiulu (back), Zella Wilson and Gavan McGill.

Thousands of people packed the Waitangi Day Festival in Porirua today in a celebration of unity and community.

A new location on Porirua foreshore showcases the harbour as a centre point of the community, says Porirua city councillor Kylie Wihapi.

“It’s not just an event, it’s a community uniting today,” Ms Wihapi says

“Everyone’s happy today. The closest thing I’ve been to annoyed about is the wind.”

The wind was welcome relief to Menime Aiulu and her fellow Tag20 teammates who have been on site since 6.30am helping stallThe holders set up and manage traffic.

“It’s such a beautiful day. The weather is awesome and the music is great. It’s an awesome way to fundraise for our team trip to Hawaii.”

Until last year the Porirua event known as the Festival of the Elements was held in Te Rauparaha Park near the city centre.

The festival has featured waka on the harbour, Cook Island drummers, Fiji Meke performances, a Taniwha puppet party, lots of live music including performances from Aaradhna, Alien Weaponry, Rob Ruha and the Witch Dr plus talks about the Treaty of Waitangi, stalls, and displays and performances from the various schools of study at Whitireia and WelTec.

Labour’s Mana electorate MP Kris Faafoi says the location and weather helped make the day magic.

“It’s the biggest day I’ve seen here.

“Porirua is a pretty diverse community and today is about celebrating that diversity, united.”

Maria Uluilelata is the Census Engagement Lead for Pacific Peoples and is at the festival with her team from Statistics New Zealand, encouraging members of the Pacific community to take part in the forthcoming census.

“Today really reflects the community, this is the epitome of what the Treaty of Waitangi is all about.

“Diversity. Unity. People coming together.”

Better work stories don’t get better than the Porirua Waitangi Day Festival for Sargeant Justin Smith (right) and Constable Duncan Ashton.

Ihipera Parata, 16, from Para Kore has a different view of unity than most at today’s festival.

Her job is to keep things separate – in the name of working towards zero waste.

Working with other volunteers, she stands all day advising people on which rubbish goes in which bin.

It’s a hot job today, but she’s got a great spot for Aaradhna and Alien Weaponry when they take the main music stage.

“I don’t mind. It’s important. It has to be done.”

Chief Executive of Whitireia and WelTec, Chris Gosling had swapped his suit for jeans and a tshirt when he stopped to praise the event being hosted partly on the Whitireia campus.

“Today is absolutely fantastic.”

“It’s the physical manifestation of how strongly Whitireia, the city council and the community work together.”

“It’s just tremendous.”

That bond between the diverse community is what makes the day so great, says Sergeant Justin Smith from the Porirua Police.

“It’s my first time here, and I’m loving it.”

Patrolling with Constable Duncan Ashton, they were happy to report of no issues other than the odd lost child.

“It’s a positive family fun day out. You should be here,” said Mr Ashton.









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