Ngati Toa events embedded in festival
Ngati Toa will have a notable presence at Saturday’s Festival of the Elements.
The programme for the Waitangi Day event has been finalised and Ngati Toa, the local iwi, are running several events.
Organiser Wiremu Grace said there had always been involvement from Ngati Toa in the past, but perhaps not as overtly as this year.
‘‘We’re certainly keen to build on the relationship we have with our community and tell stories about our past, present and future.
‘‘Porirua is a city that’s grown up around us,’’ he said.
There will be a panel discussion at Pataka on Saturday on the Treaty of Waitangi.
Grace said it was not intended to be an academic and weighty debate, but a healthy discourse among some of the city’s community leaders on what place the Treaty had in 2016 in Porirua.
‘‘There’s bound to be some strong opinions, but it’ll be good to have some local perspectives.’’
Grace will be showing a film upstairs at Te Rauparaha Arena that he produced on the kuia of Hongoeka, and Toi Wahine, a Maori arts collective, will be showing some of their work in Pataka.
Festival organiser Margaret Armour said Ngati Toa had always had an involvement in the event since its inaugural celebration in 1992, as part of the festival’s kaupapa, but the timing was right for the iwi to be on the programme itself.
‘‘Things have just come together for 2016 and it is just fantastic,’’ she said.
‘‘Much of it comes down to whether personnel and resources are available, and to see what has been organised is wonderful.
‘‘The panel discussion should be very well-attended and thought-provoking.’’ On Monday, February 8, there will be a bus tour visiting significant Ngati Toa sites in Kapiti and Porirua. To register, email wiremugrace@gmail. com.
Skyla Phillips, 14, left, and Tipapa Bracken, 14, of Aotea College at a recent Porirua Festival of the Elements.