Wai­tangi Day in Porirua an eclec­tic af­fair

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PAUL

It was nearly 30 years ago since the Green Flame was last seen pad­dled on the water, but it was once again a crowd favourite this Wai­tangi Day in Porirua.

Ren­o­va­tions of the Toa Te Ahi Ka¯ka¯riki waka fi­nally came to­gether to the de­light of the es­ti­mated 10,000 peo­ple cel­e­brat­ing on the edges of Te Awarua-o-Porirua Har­bour.

For Porirua res­i­dent, and kaitak­i­taki (waka leader), Ho­hepa Po­tini, the mo­ment 30 mem­bers of his Nga¯ti Toa iwi took to the water was a proud one.

He and other fam­ily mem­bers were part of the crew who pad­dled the waka dur­ing the 150th an­niver­sary of the sign­ing of the Treaty of Wai­tangi in 1990.

‘‘It has brought back so many mem­o­ries and emo­tions.

‘‘My un­cles who were on it 27 years ago, when they saw it to­day, I could see they were welling up.

‘‘There was a lot of emo­tion and his­tory out there to­day, it re­ally feels good, it’s re­ally uplift­ing.’’

It truly was a fam­ily af­fair as carver Nathan Rei com­pleted the rauawa, with brother Alma, while Her­man Saltz­man fin­ished the tau­rapa (stern­post). Pe­dro Busby also helped with the carv­ing, and Nel­son Solomon shaped and carved the hoe (pad­dles).

There was plenty to do and see for the thou­sands who de­scended on the Wi Neera Dr fes­ti­val, ap­pro­pri­ately themed around waka ama.

But it wasn’t just a day to cel­e­brate the com­ing to­gether of two cul­tures, Ma¯ori and Pakeha.

Cook Is­land, Fiji, Toke­lau/ Atafu per­for­mances - in­clud­ing indige­nous dances from sis­ter city, Black­town, Aus­tralia - high­lighted the com­mu­nity’s mul­ti­cul­tural back­ground.

In Welling­ton, hun­dreds lined Whairepo La­goon to watch crews of the three Ma¯ori waka - Te Rerenga Ko¯tare, Te Hononga, and Poutu - demon­strate the waka salute.

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