Hundreds to gather at local Waitangi Day celebration

ALL SET: Jacko Wirihana, Kaiao Karaitana, 3, Waihaki Karaitiana and Ivan “Fudge” Karaitiana are exited for Waitangi Day celebrations.
ALL SET: Jacko Wirihana, Kaiao Karaitana, 3, Waihaki Karaitiana and Ivan “Fudge” Karaitiana are exited for Waitangi Day celebrations. Luka Kauzlaric

HUNDREDS will gather at the Gladstone Showgrounds on Saturday, celebrating a significant achievement for one of our neighbouring countries, New Zealand.

Waitangi Day acknowledges and celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document.

To celebrate this cultural day, Gladstone Kotahitanga Roopu will hold Gladstone's first Waitangi Day celebration.

Gladstone Kotahitanga Roopu president Ivan Karaitiana said he realised a need for the celebration when he first began working in Gladstone.

Mr Karaitiana has worked in Gladstone for the past two years, but has resided in town with his family for one year.

"I know there is a huge amount of New Zealander families residing in Gladstone … there is definitely a lot more now than there were two years ago," he said.

"It's (Waitangi Day) about reconnecting with our origins, people and culture."

He created the Gladstone Kotahitanga Roopu group when he realised the size of the Kiwi community.

The New Zealand culture group has up to 40 members, who were the driving force behind this event.

"It's hard to say how many will be there, because I've heard of people coming from Biloela, Emerald, Rockhampton and some even from Brisbane," he said.

Plenty of food will be on sale, including the popular "hangi" Pacific Islanders are famous for.

Also, New Zealand-grown seafood such as "kai moana", "mussel chowder", "creamed paua" and "kinna punnets" will be on sale for the public to try. The main entertainment will be provided by Gladstone Kotahitanga Kapa Haka as well as the "Flowers of the Pacific".

Mr Karaitiana said he would especially thank Jacqui Johnson and the people from Goreng Goreng for giving their blessing for the day. There is a $5 entry fee, with children under 12 free.

For inquiries please contact Gladstone Kotahitanga Roopu President Ivan Karaitiana on 0435 817 644.

Waitangi Day

  • According to 2011 census data, there were 1947 New Zealanders in Gladstone.
  • Waitangi Day acknowledges and celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document.
  • The commemorative day is usually held on February 6.