Philip Kirby may have lived in New Zealand for just two days,
but he has already had a memorable Waitangi Day experience.
''I just did it 19 times,'' the amiable Australian told the
Otago Daily Times,after taking part in the hongi with
gathered dignitaries at Otakou marae yesterday.
Mr Kirby and his New Zealand wife, Susan, moved from the
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, to live in Brighton just two days
The couple said they enjoyed their Waitangi Day experience, a
far cry from how Australians celebrated their national day on
''It is basically [about drinking],'' Mrs Kirby said.
The couple were among the more than 500-strong crowd who
gathered for the 10am powhiri.
The large number of people were welcomed by Otakou runanga
elder Edward Ellison.
''We are looking forward to a relaxed day, a gathering of the
community and of our community leaders,'' Mr Ellison told the
The Ngai Tahu Treaty Festival was getting bigger each year.
The runanga hosts every third Waitangi Day as one of the
three locations where Ngai Tahu signed the Treaty in 1840.
Te Runanga o Otakou chairwoman Donna Matahaere-Atariki said
the Treaty was not signed so everyone could walk away.
''That is why the theme today is whanaungatanga - it is about
Those relationships were evident as people talked while
sharing food and drink in the sun-soaked surrounds of Otakou.