19 Oct 2012

Rangitane people join in festival

3:14 pm on 19 October 2012

Hundreds of Rangitane people will converge on Blenheim over Labour Weekend for their first cultural festival.

The Rangitane Ahurei Wairau 2012 is being hosted at Omaka Marae after more than four years of planning.

It will bring together the tribal branches from Manawatu, Dannevirke and Wairarapa with the Marlborough based descendants.

The manager of Omaka Marae, Kiley Nepia, says the main kaupapa of the event is to promote the Rangitane identity and reconnect families through sports activities, cultural performances, and tours of their traditional tribal estates.

He says two generations ago those whanau ties were very tight and the festival is a chance to rekindle those old relationships, and for the younger generation to re-establish those tribal kinships within the Rangitane iwi.

Mr Nepia says over the years the Wairau or Marlborough branch of the iwi has become isolated from relatives in the North Island, and the Ahurei is a way to reunite the tribe.

He says this is a significant occasion for his tribe because Rangitane is a small and scattered iwi with 1500members who reside in Marlborough registered on their books.

Festival-goers will be welcomed during a powhiri on Friday followed by a dinner at Omaka Marae where people can socialise and recite whakapapa connections.