Signs point to record-breaker
It’s been a hard year, but Porirua’s Festival of the Elements celebration is on track for another record- breaking Waitangi Day extravaganza.
The Festival of the Elements show, now in its 23rd year, will be held on February 6.
It is expected to attract crowds of about 40,000 to Te Rauparaha Park. It is non- profit and entry is free.
The festival has become the biggest celebration of Waitangi Day in the country.
Festival organiser Margaret Armour said the upcoming show would be no exception and would again demonstrate a great outpouring of goodwill.
‘‘We’ve got such a brilliant lineup of celebrity guests, artists, performers, events, exhibits, sideshows and stalls that it’s enough to take your breath away,’’ she said.
‘‘People have been so generous and willing with their time, talents and skills. It is humbling and inspiring.’’
Ms Armour said it took a full year to organise the festival.
‘‘The economy hasn’t helped, but people want the festival to go ahead and we get a lot of valuable assistance.
’’ We are very thankful that Porirua provides the leadership and community spirit to make it all hugely worthwhile. I often think this could only happen in Porirua.’’
Titahi Bay identity Bob Cater has been the festival committee’s chairman since its modest beginnings at Aotea Lagoon in 1992.
‘‘ The festival had a mission right from the start and it has not changed,’’ he said. ‘‘In fact, as the years go by, the mission has become more important.
‘‘It began with the idea that Waitangi Day should be a celebration of diversity and unity – a coming together of different cultures. ‘‘ We felt we had something great to celebrate and that Waitangi Day was the most fitting occasion.’’
The Festival of the Elements uses the concept of creative power, each year emphasising a different theme from the elements of fire, water, earth and air. This year the theme is fire.
‘‘There is plenty of scope for artistic expression, movement and colour,’’ Mr Cater said.
Gary McCormick will again be the MC.
The impressive list of celebrities and stars includes actor Ray Henwood, author Albert Wendt, vocalist Amiria Grenell, the Beat Girls and rising stage performers Bella Kalolo, Newtown Rocksteady and Bullfrog Rata.
Ms Armour said more and more people wanted to be part of the festival, which augered well for its success.
‘‘Some shows will be longer – up to 30 or 40 minutes, featuring complete entertainment and performances.
‘‘What’s more it’s all free, made possible through the support of Porirua City Council, Mana Community Grants Trust, the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and our other wonderful sponsors.’’
Hot off the press: Festival of the Elements organiser Margaret Armour and Porirua printer Rudi de Kinderen with the latest poster for the Waitangi Day blockbuster.