Elements Waitangi Day focus
Porirua’s Festival of the Elements is expected to be New Zealand’s biggest Waitangi Day celebration.
The Governor-general Sir Jerry Mateparae, making his first official visit to Porirua, will attend the festival. Members of the Diplomatic Corps from as many as 30 embassies are also expected to attend.
The Governor-general will be welcomed at Te Rauparaha Park by Mayor Nick Leggett and Porirua Community Arts Council chairman Bob Cater.
‘‘With no special celebrations at Waitangi itself this year, it is clear the Porirua event will be established as the biggest in the country,’’ Mr Cater said. ‘‘But the central focus of the occasion is its demonstration that the Treaty of Waitangi has made it possible, through the festival, to celebrate Porirua’s multi-cultural identity, talents and diversity.’’
Porirua could be proud to be hosting such an event which had also been made possible from support by individuals and organisations from all levels of the community.
Thousands of dollars were likely to be pumped back into the Porirua economy with organisers preparing for crowds in excess of 35,000, he said.
Record numbers of performers will provide daylong entertainment and artistic performances supported by hundreds of stalls, workshops, craft demonstrations and cultural displays.
Festival co-ordinator Margaret Armour said the festival obviously would have some economic benefit for the community but that came as a bonus and should not obscure the main focus.
‘‘From our point of view, the festival is an enormous gathering of incredible cultures, skills, entrepreneurial abilities and traditional entertainment. It’s a snapshot of our nationhood.’’ The festival is now in its 21st year. With the move to Te Rauparaha Park and the arena, and a $143,000 budget, has come the biggest programme of performers and events.
Entertainer Gary Mccormick, who grew up in Porirua, will be MC once again.