'Amazed' at Treaty festival turnout

King's High School pupil D'Angelo Wade and Queen's High School pupil Georgia Clark (both 16)...
King's High School pupil D'Angelo Wade and Queen's High School pupil Georgia Clark (both 16) perform with their schools' kapa haka group at Ngai Tahu's Treaty of Waitangi Festival at Otakou marae yesterday. PHOTOS: PETER MCINTOSH
A little bit of rain did not dampen spirits as hundreds of people converged on Otakou marae for Ngai Tahu's Treaty of Waitangi Festival.

Ngai Tahu kaumatua Edward Ellison told the crowd he was ``amazed'' at the turnout.

There were plenty of laughs during the powhiri as the crowds were welcomed by Te Runanga o Otakou on to the marae, where the Treaty was signed in 1840.

A highlight was when Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell, speaking in Maori, had the crowd in stitches while joking about the koha.

The laughs only got louder when the bag carrying the koha broke and coins scattered everywhere.

The theme of yesterday's event was ``Te Hereka Waka'' - a mooring place for the many waka and ships which have voyaged to New Zealand shores.



This was touched on by many of the speakers, including Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, who emphasised the many different groups which had travelled to Dunedin.

Mr Cull discussed the history of the settlement of Dunedin from when the first Maori arrived, to last year when the first Syrian refugees came.

The city's history included some racial discrimination, but also many examples of partnership.

This included the first Scottish settlers being helped out on arrival by local Maori if they did not have the means to support themselves.

Mr Ellison said yesterday's event was about educating future generations and having fun.

Crowds had grown significantly since it started celebrating the Treaty of Waitangi annually in 1998.

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