Taniwha & Dragon Festival 2013: Celebrating ancient and modern bonds

A pōwhiri and festival are to be held in Auckland to celebrate Maori and Chinese cultural bonds, and to consummate the relationship between the two cultures. The Minister of Māori Affairs, alongside hosts Ngāti Whātua o Orākei, and Auckland Chinese community leaders announced details of the ‘Taniwha & Dragon’ festival during the Prime Minister’s visit to China to celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Dr Sharples said “It is an honour to be working alongside Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei and Chinese community leaders to help co-ordinate this special event.”

“From our ancestors who left Asia millennia ago to settle the vast Pacific Ocean, to our Chinese friends and family who have worked, settled and raised families across Aotearoa over the past two centuries: our eternal ties to Asia can be found in our language, cultures and peoples. Our aim is to revitalise these relationships at the face-to-face community level,” said Dr Sharples.

“As the Year of the Water Dragon sets and the Year of the Snake dawns, I’m proud that my Ministry, Te Puni Kōkiri, is supporting the inaugural Taniwha & Dragon Festival.”

“The day begins with a pōwhiri by Ngāti Whātua o Orākei welcoming the Chinese community on to Orakei marae. The festival that follows will be an extravaganza of cultural experiences, we have kapa haka, dragon dances, traditional foods, and kites among the many Chinese and Maori cultural displays on offer.”

“The new millennium sees Māori people connecting with Chinese people in many ways, through trade and business, via cultural and educational exchanges, and as citizens of the global environment,” says Dr Sharples. “All of these things should be based on building strong relationships between our people and communities, and this is what Taniwha-Dragon is about.”

“Through our amazing ancestors we proudly acknowledge our kinship to China and invite all New Zealanders to come along and enjoy the day at our long overdue, family reunion.”

“I congratulate Ōrākei Marae and Auckland’s Chinese community leaders, and I hope other communities around the country will consider similar celebrations involving all cultures living in Aotearoa,” said Dr Sharples.

The event will take place Saturday 27th April 2013 at Ōrākei Marae, Takaparawhau, Auckland. The pōwhiri starts at 9am, festival at 10am.

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