'Native Noise' Waitangi Day Festival at Ōkahu Bay. Photo / File
Two major Waitangi Day celebrations in Auckland which attract thousands annually have been cancelled as a precaution following this week's Covid-19 community cases.
Waitangi Day Ki Ōkau 2021 and Waitangi ki Manukau have both now been cancelled.
🔸 Waitangi Day ki Ōkahu 2021 event cancelled 🔸 Tēnā koutou katoa, Due to recent circumstances of the Covid-19...Posted by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei - Whai Māia on Thursday, 28 January 2021
"Due to recent circumstances of the Covid-19 community cases, Ngāti Whatua Ōrākei have decided to cancel our Waitangi Day ki Ōkahu 2021 event," the hapū said in an online post Friday.
"We expected to see over ten thousand people come to our event to celebrate this significant day, which is why we have been extremely cautious in our decision.
"Although it was not an easy decision, our approach recognises that there are many implications of Covid-19 transmission and at this time we have to prioritise the safety of our whānau, partners and the wider community."
*EVENT CANCELLED* After significant consultation with stakeholders, event partners Manukau Urban Māori Authority and...Posted by Manukau Urban Māori Authority on Thursday, 28 January 2021
Manukau Urban Māori Authority and Auckland Council have taken a similar precautionary step with Waitangi ki Manukau, a free community family day which was set to feature music acts such as Herbs, Che Fu and Annie Crummer, along with a host of food and retail stalls.
Organisers said they were expecting a greater surge in numbers this year due to the cancellation of a similar event in West Auckland.
“Holding a concert at this time given our community’s vulnerability would be irresponsible," said Wyn Osborne, Manukau Urban Māori Authority chief executive, in a statement.
"The risk profile is too great in our mind now, so we are acting decisively according to the best interests of the community we serve.”
Manukau councillor Alf Filipaina supported the decision.
“While, in general, we are being advised by health experts that it is ok for events to go ahead with adequate Covid-19 precautionary measures in place, we respect that our Māori communities are making this important call around changing their commemoration of Waitangi to protect whānau."