Takitimu Festival Powhiri bring out Hawke’s bay’s colourful cultures (All about Hawkes Bay)

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The first full day of entertainment and performances begin this morning at the Takitimu Festival at the Hawkes Bay Opera House in Hastings.

International performances today will include Red Thunder Native Dance Theatre from Calgary, Canada and Tavai’ura Dance Group from Tahiti.

Kapa haka groups to perform include Te Ahikaaroa and others groups from Ngati Ranginui (Bay of Plenty); Ngai Tahu (South Island) will also take the stage along with Hawkes Bays Flaxmere College Pacifica Culture.

Singers to perform at various stages today include DJ Kommikai, J Williams, Northland reggae band 1814 and a special tour show by Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre.

Other features include Te Maori Exhibition, Maori Short-Film Festival, Ukulele workshop, and The Fuse Circus.

The official powhiri to the festival as held yesterday at the Hawkes Bay Regional Sports Park in Hastings.

It is the second time the festival has been held but the first time it has involved people from the Tsuutina Nation from the State of Alberta and the Nunavut Nation, from the State of Nunavut.

Representatives of the two tribes had arrived earlier this week to attend the festivals Indigenous Peoples Business Conference and were invited to be part of the powhiri.

At the conferences dinner on Wednesday night, Ngati Kahungunu Iwi chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana said it best when it described the situation as the northern most iwi meeting the southern most iwi.

The Nunavut State was at the northern most extreme while New Zealand was at the southern, so we have from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

The First Nations people were a colourful stand out during the welcome, wearing their traditional tribal outfits and some, like Tsuutina Nation leader Josh Littlelight, carrying traditional percussion instruments.

They were not the only international guests experiencing their first taste of Maori culture this week.

Among the manuhiri, or visitors, welcomed at yesterdays powhiri were performers from US-based indigenous Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Academy.

The group will join with Hawkes Bays Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre for a special production performance near the conclusion of the festival on Sunday.

Pacific royalty was also among the visitors welcomed yesterday, including Pa Ariki, the Queen of the Takitumu district of Rarotonga as well as heads of state from Tahiti.

The first of four evening Pacific variety entertainment shows began at the Hawkes Bay Opera House theatre last night.

The opening number was a tribute performance marking Hastings Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatres 26 years in the entertainment industry. It featured some of the original and former members of the group who opened the show, followed by another performance starring the current Kahurangi members.

Other acts such as the Laughing Samoans, Elena Violin Virtuoso, Musical Island Boys, the band Fiji and Maisey Rika.

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