Ngāpuhi Festival estimates attracting over 40,000 to Kaikohe

By Dean Nathan

Ngāpuhi descendants from all over the world have gathered in Kaikohe this weekend to celebrate their Ngāpuhi kinship. Our reporter Dean Nathan was there. 

Crowds have flocked to Kaikohe this weekend to celebrate the Ngāpuhi Festival. 

Sonny Tau says, "We are all aware that it's crucial that Ngāpuhi unite itself, and this is being heard in the discussions being held at this event.  So it's about uniting Ngāpuhi so that we're not divided when dealing with our adversaries and all of that."

It's especially gratifying for elders to see the younger generation now playing key roles in the organisation and management of such an important event.

Te Mata Naera says, "It's great to see and my heart is full of joy because this generation will be our future leaders.  It's of utmost importance that they are skilled and knowledgeable in our culture and traditions."

It's an annual event first run by Te Rūnanga-a-iwi o Ngāpuhi in 2004, alternating between Auckland and Kaikohe venues. 

This year the event has returned to Kaikohe with crowds expected to be in excess of 40,000 people.

Tau says, "We all need to do is actively pursuing unity within Ngāpuhi.  Having the Ngāpuhi Festival here is a good way to begin the year."