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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, February 06, 2009

Players and kings line up for celebration

Morning, February 5
All the main players are taking their places for tomorrow's Waitangi Day celebrations in the Bay of Islands.

The area will be a hive of activity throughout the day.

Over the past two days Ngapuhi has been welcoming manuhiri from around the motu and the Pacific, including King Tuheitia and members of the royal houses of Tonga, Rarotonga and Tahiti.

They have also called on hundreds of paddlers, who will power the largest regatta of waka in the Bay of Islands since 1990.

This morning at 10am John Key and his MPs will be welcomed on, along with the Maori Party.

Mr Key has a busy day, with a meeting with iwi chairs and with the Waitangi National Trust on his agenda.

At 2pm Phil Goff and Labour MPs will be welcomed on.

They might mingle later at the Governor General’s high teas or at the evening concert featuring Whirimako Black.

NGATI WHATUA PREPARES FOR NATIVE NOISE CONCERT

Away from Waitangi, Ngati Whatua is preparing to host one of the largest Waitangi Day celebrations tomorrow.

The Native Noise concert will be held on the hapu's land at Okahu Bay in Auckland.

Organiser Piripi Meneray says it's a chance to highlight top Maori acts like Tama Waipara and House of Shem.

“We’ve developed lifting our local talent to the highest level instead of bringing over international acts. A lot of the music that’s played in this country is far better than we get overseas, so why not showcase it,” Mr Meneray says.

MARLEY INFLUENCE RECALLED THROUGH SONS

The sons of reggae great Bob Marley will be welcomed to Aotearoa today by some of the same faces who welcomed their father 30 years ago.

Ziggy and Stephen Marley are heading for this weekend's Raggamuffin Music Festival in Rotorua, where they will share the stage with Eddy Grant, Shaggy, Arrested Development and Inner Circle.

Herbs founder member Dilworth Karaka says the week Bob Marley spent in Auckland in 1979 had a profound influence on New Zealand musicians, with many of them camping out at the old White Heron Lodge in Parnell, where the band was staying.

“He certainly made an impact. He welcomed us into the guys playing soccer and his teachings and things like that and by the time we got down to do the concert in Western Springs it was huge. Just a diversity of people in society. We’re certainly unified in our diversity through music, which stood out for me, the different people in society who were there for the concert,” Karaka says.

The Marley brothers will be welcomed today at Auckland Museum by Ngati Whatua.

SENSE OF HISTORY IN BAY OF ISLANDS

The Bay of Islands is filling up as people make their way north for the annual treaty commemorations.

There is a sense of history for what is expected to be a trouble free celebration compared with recent years.

Waitangi Day tomorrow will mark the birth of the nation, but turn a corner at Waitangi and there is history.

On the paepae speakers are recalling old prophesies and drawing links between tribes.

They are also waiting to see what history John Key will make, on his first visit to Waitangi as Prime Minister.

There is history too for Phil Goff, whose welcome this afternoon will be the first time in five years a Labour Party leader has come onto the lower marae.

Under the trees, old radicals like Dun Mihaka and Grant Hawke swap stories of the early protest years.

And everywhere you look are kai hoe, paddlers maintaining the ancient waka traditions.

AUSTRALIAN FILM BUYERS JUMP ON WAITITI ERUPTION

A highly anticipated film from one of New Zealand’s best loved movie makers has been picked up by an Australian film acquisitions and distribution company.

Transmission Films has bought New Zealand rights to The Volcano (aka Tama), the second feature film from Taika Waititi which was inspired by his award-winning short film, Two Cars One Night, and is being produced by Cliff Curtis and Ainsley Gardiner.

Ms Gardiner says having the film made on home territory was especially important for the team.

“With his last film, it happened to go and be brought by the Americans before anyone had even seen it and so it sort of changes things around but for us as filmmakers the most important place for the film to be seen and well received is in New Zealand, because that’s the main thing. We want it to be successful and for people to see it again and again as they did with Two Cars One Night,” Gardiner says.

The Volcano starts shooting in March and will be released in New Zealand next year.

SHARK AND STOMACH LINING DRYING FOR FOOD FESTIVAL

One of the organisers of this weekend's fifth Kawhia Kai Festival says traditional Maori food is not all about the taste.

He says foodies want to taste delicacies such as kaanga piro - rotten corn, fried bread and mussel chowder, and they also want to hear the stories that go with the food.

“It's about matauranga, that knowledge our old people had on what time to go out and get the kai so we’ve got dried shark hanging at the back oif the marae and we’ve got koki, the stomach lining on the line at the back of the marae as well so it’s a combination of some of the contemporary stuff mixed up with the old, but the traditions are there on how to prepare it, so it’s going to be great,” Mr Whiu says.

The whole community around the Waikato settlement has been collecting ingredients to feed the thousands of people expected on Saturday.

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