Turia leads all-star cast at festival
Maori Party co- leader Tariana Turia will open Porirua’s Festival of the Elements on Waitangi Day.
It will be her last Waitangi Day public engagement before she retires at the end of this parliamentary term.
Mrs Turia represents the Te Tai Hauauru electorate and entered Parliament in 1996 as a Labour list MP.
The festival at Te Rauparaha Park is in its 23rd year and could attract up to 40,000 for the all-day celebration. It is regarded as the biggest Waitangi Day celebration in the country.
Mrs Turia said she was looking forward to celebrating.
‘‘ Waitangi Day is a day for celebrating being a citizen of Aotearoa-New Zealand,’’ she said. ‘‘Here in multi-cultural Porirua, New Zealanders from all ethnic backgrounds live, work and play.
‘‘Waitangi Day is also a day to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which formalised the partnership between tangata whenua and the Crown and which set the scene for the nation that we now all call home.’’
She said the treaty bestowed upon all New Zealanders a set of rights and responsibilities as treaty partners.
‘‘Waitangi Day should not be the only day, though, that we consider and take seriously those responsibilities. Around the country, families and communi- ties are celebrating and recognising this day through events such as sport, cultural festivals and political forums.’’
Also among the official party at the opening will be Race Relations commissioner Dame Susan Devoy, Minister of Education Hekia Parata, Mana MP Kris Faafoi, Mayor of Porirua Nick Leggett, kaumatua from Ngati Toa Taku Parai and Rehia Kenny, Pacific writer Professor Albert Wendt, Porirua Community Arts Council chairwoman Judy McKoy and Bob Cater, who has chaired the festival’s organising committee since it began.
Mr Cater said Porirua’s lead in promoting the Waitangi Day festival was widely appreciated and reflected in the high office of the official guests attending.
‘‘ Since the Porirua festival began in 1992, it has built a reputation for showing the way communities can come together in the spirit of the treaty. We have been honoured over the years by the fact that each GovernorGeneral since Dame Catherine Tizard has attended one of our openings.
‘‘We are honoured further, not only by our official guests, but also by the standing and attendance of renowned artists, performers and entertainers.
‘‘Porirua can feel proud of its achievement.’’
Special guest: Inaugural Festival of the Elements chairman Bob Cater
will be back again.
Dame Susan Devoy