14 Nov 2008

Descendants gather for Hastings festival

7:59 pm on 14 November 2008

Thousands of descendants of the Takitimu waka from throughout New Zealand and the Pacific Islands have gathered at the showgrounds in Hastings for a three-day festival.

The festival, hosted by Ngati Kahungunu iwi, is designed to help people understand where they come from and who they are, as well as to enjoy themselves.

It has four main themes: performing arts, oral presentations on the history and genealogy from each area of the waka, visual arts, and forums on current and future issues.

About 1,500 entertainers, actors and craftspeople from eight iwi and three Pacific nations are taking part.

One local kaumatua hopes the festival will encourage descendants of the Takitimu canoe to form a huge family circle all around the world.