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Waitangi dawn service returns to Hopukiore

Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, 3 February 2023

The Tauranga Moana Waitangi Day dawn service returns to Hopukiore (Mount Drury Reserve) in Mount Maunganui for this year’s gathering.

The service on Monday, 6 February will be an opportunity for the community to commemorate the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Treaty of Waitangi, and reflect on what it means in today’s world.

A welcome from tangata whenua begins the service at 6.30 am and will be followed by hymns, guest speakers, and kapa haka. This year speakers include local kaumātua (elders), clergy from community church groups, civic leaders and rangatahi (youth) leaders. The ceremony will conclude with a closing karakia at 8 am.

Tauranga City Council Manager of Strategic Māori Engagement Carlo Ellis says the dawn service represents a time for the community to come together for an important date in Aotearoa New Zealand’s history.

Mr Ellis said, “We’re grateful for Whareroa Marae hosting a reduced service last year due to physical distancing restrictions, and it’s exciting to look toward the upcoming service where the Tauranga Moana community can gather in person to honour and reflect on the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

The dawn service will be recorded and available to view online later in the day for those who are unable to attend in person. A road closure will be in place on Monday, 6 February from 5.30 am until 9 am on Marine Parade from Grace Avenue to Pacific Avenue.

Hopukiore is now known as Mount Drury (Mount Maunganui Main Street Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A brief History of Hopukiore

It is well known that Maori had occupied Hopukiore, now known as Mt Drury. Hopukiore was used by the Maori as a carving school. The name, Hopukiore, literally means to catch rats. The rat’s teeth were used as blades in the carving chisels.

It is also well-documented that it was an old burial site. The early Maori used caves as sites for burials. Information that had been received from local iwi states that a small party of Pākehā climbed the hill in the early 1900s and found two burial caves full of skeletons, greenstone drops, grinding stones, hooks, mats and some weapons.

Hopukiore, now known as Mount Drury Reserve, was also a sacred site used for tā moko. It was the bones of the native rat or ‘kiore’  that were used to make the tattooing instruments.

The Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in the Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840. Over the following months, a further eight Treaty sheets were signed in various locations around New Zealand. One of those places was Tauranga.

Mauao from Mount Drury circa 1950s (Tauranga City Libraries image)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A collaborative commemoration

Tauranga City Council has worked collaboratively with mana whenua to ensure this important date in our country’s history is commemorated year after year. Tauranga City Council works, as part of the organising committee, alongside the Whareroa Marae Committee, Ngai Tukairangi, Māori Wardens, Te Kohinga Network, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Tauranga Church Community.

The organising committee receives funding from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Tauranga City Council to support the service.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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