Celebrating the diversity of the Gisborne community and 170 years of history since the signing of the Treaty in Tairawhiti is the theme of the Waitangi Day event at Te Poho o Rawiri Marae this Saturday.
A full size version of the ‘Tairawhiti Treaty’ taken around the East Coast by William Williams in May and June of 1840 will be a popular attraction with many locals looking for the mark of their ancestors amongst the names on the local version of Te Tiriti.
Since 2001 residents association and community development organisation KaPai Kaiti have been organising Waitangi Day commemorations in Kaiti. “Last year was the first time we had it at Te Poho o Rawiri and all the feedback was very positive” said event organiser Manu Caddie. “The Treaty signing in this region was a critical process that paved the way for British and other foreigners to settle in the district. While there is much debate over rights and wrongs of the past 170 years, the Treaty signing remains one of the major milestones in the history of our area and the basis for the future of all peoples co-existing in this community.”
Mr Caddie estimates close to 2,000 people participate each year in the Waitangi Day event designed to increase residents knowledge of local history and build a stronger sense of community within Gisborne.
A street-on-street sports competition involving teams of local families is being organised by Tairawhiti Men Against Violence along with a display of images from the Super Gizzy Fullas photo competition. The annual Treaty Trivia quiz is always popular as is the t-shirt screen-printing provided by Kaiti artist Melanie Tahata.
“This is an awesome opportunity to celebrate the different cultures that make up modern day Gisborne and to remember where we have come from” said Mr Caddie “Through the generosity of the Tangata Whenua, it is also a great chance to spend some time with friends and family in the special place that is Te Poho o Rawiri.”
A record number of food, information and activity stalls will be nourishing the body, mind and soul throughout the day which starts at 10am and finishes around 3pm.