Happy to be marking Waitangi Day in Central Otago with online event

Otakou runanga kaumatua Edward Ellison. Photo: ODT files
Otakou runanga kaumatua Edward Ellison. Photo: ODT files
Being unable to gather in person is no barrier to the Central Otago District Council marking Waitangi Day.

After cancelling its in-person Waitangi Day celebrations in late December due to Covid-19 restrictions, the council got to work on alternatives. It settled on bringing the festivities into people’s homes with a special online offering.

Otakou runanga kaumatua Edward Ellison will give a presentation and speak about significant Central Otago landmarks and share traditional stories that are an important part of Ngai Tahu history, culture and traditions.

"Our history is in the land, recorded in traditions and place-names left by the ancestors that span time," Mr Ellison said.

"The presentation seeks to give an insight to what we refer to as wahi tupuna (places of our ancestors)."

Council chief executive Sanchia Jacobs said while it was disappointing to cancel the in-person event, she was glad the day would still be marked.

"Waitangi Day has always been my favourite public holiday because, until this year with the establishment of Matariki, it was the one day that was truly about our country."

Waitangi Day was an opportunity for New Zealanders to reflect upon the country’s unique history, she said.

"I am especially grateful that kaumatua Edward Ellison will be taking the time to host a special online event for all members of the community to learn more about the Kai Tahu history of Central Otago, and I hope we get good numbers of people taking the opportunity to tune into that."

A link to the presentation, which starts at 10am, would be on the council's Facebook page.

Many other Waitangi Day events around the South have been cancelled due to the Red traffic light setting, including a Dunedin City Council celebration that had been planned for Sunday.

The Te Anau Waitangi Charitable Trust is holding a calendar of events through to February, including have-a-go waka tours and a kai stall at the Yacht Club on Sunday from 11am.

andrew.marshall@odt.co.nz

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