From beginning in darkness for the dawn service at Te Whare Rūnanga to a hot breakfast hosted by Paihia Station and a day full of combat challenges, Escape My House demonstrations and kōrero’s around fire safety – our people in Te Hiku did some very important mahi at this year’s Waitangi Day celebration.
Due to the recent cases of COVID in the community and following calls from Iwi to discourage inter-regional travel, ELT reviewed our attendance and considered it was "Tika" or the right thing for personnel outside of the region to not attend.
Where our National Commander would have represented the organisation, it was decided that local leadership would fly our flag this year. This meant that Area Commander Wipari Henwood and Regional Pou Takawaenga Māori, Albert Cash would amongst other commitments, deliver such things as the dawn karakia alongside the Prime Minister.
Wipari commented that engagement felt higher this year and while there was an obvious lack of tourists, the numbers were made up by locals attending and building a deeper understanding of what Waitangi Day means.
Forty-two of our people from all over Te Hiku arrived during the week leading up to the 6th of February, and for some, it was their first opportunity to be involved.
“It was great to see some new faces in our group representing Fire and Emergency at Waitangi this year, which is a great opportunity for our people to gain important skills in engaging with the community on our safety messages,” says Wipari.
Albert Cash has previously mentioned the value of building these connections at Waitangi; “Watangi Day is all about the people, and if we put our focus, energy and passion into that space, then we’re gonna get some good results, build awesome relationships and get our messages through a lot easier”.
We are proud to play a part in the commemorations at Waitangi each year and to recognise the status of Māori as key partners in the work we do. To find out more about our commitment to with Māori as tangata whenua you can read about the Hiwa-i-te-rangi (Māori Outcomes Programme).
Te reo glossary:
- Te Whare Rūnanga - Carved Meeting House
- Kōreo - tell, say, speak, read, talk, address.
- Mahi - to work, do, perform, make, accomplish, practise.
- Tangata whenua - local people, hosts, indigenous people