A day of celebration

GOOD VIBES: Mid Canterbury Hato Hone St John member Michelle Brett was part of team providing health checks at Waitangi on Waitangi Day. PHOTO SUPPLIED
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While not seeing too much of what was happening at the Waitangi Treaty grounds because she was working, Hato Hone St John Maori health and equity lead – clinical services Aroha (Michelle) Ormsby-Brett said there was good vibes about the place.

Brett was one of team of Hato Hone members who provided hauora health checks.

‘‘This is the second year I have attended, it was busier than last year as there were heaps of people around,’’ she said.

‘‘Last year was quieter. There was a real buzz in the air this year.’’

‘‘There was something very significant about being on the treaty ground where Te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed,’’ Brett said

‘‘Waitangi Day is a day of celebration, the day before is the more political day, when the Government are around and things can happen.’’

It is estimated the crowd was double what it was in 2023.

A hikoi to honour the treaty saw more than 1000 people march over the bridge which is often the scene of protests and confrontation.

Having begun at Te Reinga Wairua/Cape Reinga at dawn on February 2, it ended at Upper Treaty Grounds and Te Whare Runanga.

‘‘Waitangi Day is about people, about whanau and even the march was peaceful.’’

‘‘The march was special to see, to see Maori and non-Maori walking together, people of all ages.’’

Brett particularly liked the message being shared.

‘‘Tangata tiriti – people of the treaty (non-Maori), and tangata whenua – people of the land (Maori), standing together.’’

‘‘It was great to be part of the celebrations of Waitangi day at Waitangi but I did miss being at Hakatere Marae.

“I have heard good reports of the new way we celebrated Waitangi Day at the marae this year, beginning the day with a breakfast and korero. I’m thankful to those who came out to support our event.’’

This year saw the marae not only change how they acknowledge Waitangi day but there are exciting plans being developed for Matariki celebrations on June 22.

Hauora health days will once again be offered at Hakatere Marae. The first of these for this year will be March 9, with a focus on whanau, followed by June 22, with a focus on wahine and tamariki, and then September 21, with a focus on tane.

‘‘The health checks are so important, as it means we can assist people to get follow ups,” Brett said.

“We have some people who come to more than on hauora day a year, which is great as we can see if they have gone to their health provider and support them with anything else they need to do.’’