Extraordinary light show launches tonight for Waitangi weekend

By Jessica Tyson
The light show will run from Friday night through to Waitangi Day to tell the story of Hauturu-o-Toi. Source: Chris Weissenborn

Thousands of Aucklanders are getting ready to watch an “extraordinary” light show tonight on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, as part of this year’s Waitangi celebrations.

The show, run by Ngāti Manuhiri, Ngāti Rehua, Vector and the Auckland Council will tell the story of Hauturu-o-Toi, Great Barrier Island, and will run each night from 9pm through to Waitangi Day.

Ngāti Manuhiri and Ngāti Rehua Chair Nicola MacDonald says she’s delighted to partner with Vector Lights to acknowledge the national day.

“Waitangi Day, the Treaty of Waitangi and our mana whenua iwi all have strong connections to the principle of kaitiaki – protection or guardianship of our natural environment. So the underlying purpose and message Vector Lights will tell this week is built upon this,” says MacDonald.

The lights show will take place from 9pm, 10pm and 11pm. Source: Chris Weissenborn

Hauturu-o-Toi – the resting place of the wind – was New Zealand's first nature reserve, established in 1896 and a safe haven for a multitude of critically endangered species.

According to the Department of Conservation the island “is without doubt one of the most important reserves of its kind in the world”.

“Approximately 40 species of rare or endangered birds, 14 reptile and two bat species, and more than 400 native plants flourish in this pest-free sanctuary,” DOC said in a statement.

Legend has it that the island is the center-post of the great net of Taramainuku who cast his net from Cape Colville across the Hauraki Gulf to the Whangarei Heads.

People can watch the light show from various locations around the Waitemata Harbour. Source: Vector

Mayor Phil Goff says the lights will provide a great way to commemorate this Waitangi Day “and celebrate our identity as New Zealanders”.

Vector’s Chief Executive Simon Mackenzie is delighted mana whenua are so closely involved in the creation of the first Vector Lights show to be opened up to community input.

“Vector Lights is designed to give Aucklanders a focal point for celebration and recognition. What more appropriate time to reflect and celebrate who we are as 21st century Aucklanders than during the Waitangi Day weekend.”

Vector Lights on Waitangi weekend – what you need to know:

-       The Waitangi light and sound show launches at 9pm on Friday 2nd and concludes on Waitangi Day, Tuesday 6th February.

-       It is 10 minutes in duration and will repeat on the hour until midnight (9pm, 10pm, 11pm and midnight)

-       Get out on one of these five nights and enjoy the experience from a viewpoint around the Waitematā Harbour.

-       Audio: bring your mobile device and speaker with you! There is a dedicated audio stream synced to the light show here.  

-       There will also be a live-stream online at the website.