Te Huruhi Primary kapa haka at Waitangi Day 2019
Te Huruhi Primary performs a kapa haka at Waitangi Day 2019 at Piritahi Marae in Blackpool

People of all ages, nationalities and skin colours had gathered under the sun outside Piritahi Marae on the morning of Wednesday 6 February, waiting to be officially welcomed onto the grounds to take part in the solemn celebrations of Waitangi Day.

A call from the kaikaranga (woman caller) to the Blackpool marae began the official pōwhiri.

The day continued with kapa haka performances from island children from Piritahi Childcare, Waiheke Primary and Te Huruhi Schools, ending with combined toiere (singing) from Waiheke High School and the Adult Kapa Haka Group.

Traditional Māori hāngī were made and eaten while music from an array of musicians flooded the grounds.

Badges were made, tā moko (tattooing) observed and the Waiheke Waka Ama Club led by Noema Cash offered experiences paddling the long outrigger canoes.

Young tamariki (children) had their faces painted before running around the playground and enjoying a cheeky ice cream in the shade.

Spirits were high and smiles wide at the celebrations despite the scorching sun.

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