Skip to page content
Home / About us » News » Archives

Waitangi Day festival to be held at Waikato Museum

27 January 2023

Whakatau mai raa kei te tini, whakatau mai raa kei te mano. Whakatau mai raa ki runga ki Te Whare Taonga o Waikato me ngaa tawhito noo tua. Noo puuahaaha, noo puuarearea, noo puuaanewanewae ka tau haa, haa whakatau.

Live music, kapa haka, and film screenings will be part of the free activities at Waikato Museum on Monday 6 February 2023 to mark Waitangi Day and the importance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Visitors will also be able to learn from expert weavers or join a guided tour focussed on the turbulent New Zealand Land Wars.

“Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato is a proudly bicultural organisation, and we are only at the start of our journey to understanding what this means for us as a museum,” said Liz Cotton, Director of Museum and Arts, Waikato Museum.

“We strive to meet our responsibilities of partnership under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and how to merge the weight of being a colonial institution with providing kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga for our collections, our people, and our communities. Waitangi Day provides another opportunity for us continue engaging in these important conversations.”

“Ngaa mihi nui to Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage who through their generous sponsorship have enabled our communities to access this programme for free.”

The festival commences at 1pm with a performance on the Museum forecourt by Te Waiora o Waikato, a kapa haka group affiliated with the University of Waikato.

Live music will then be performed on the outdoor stage throughout the afternoon by a line-up of local musicians. Inside the Museum, renowned weaving group Te Roopu Aroha Ki Te Raranga will demonstrate traditional techniques to transform harakeke (flax) into woven creations.

The New Zealand Land Wars will be the subject of a guided tour lead by Brad Totorewa (Waikato), chairperson of Te Runanga Ngāti Naho, utilising significant items from the Museum’s collection.

With an extensive career in education and the revitalisation of te reo Maaori, Totorewa is the mastermind behind the rebuild of the Rangiriri earthwork trenches, the site of the bloodiest battle of the Land Wars. Attendance is free for this event but as spaces are limited it is recommended that you book online.

Rounding out the festival’s attractions, free film screenings will be held in the Museum’s lecture theatre thanks to a partnership with the New Zealand Film Commission.

Poi E: The Story Of Our Song (2016, rated G) will screen at 1.30pm, telling the toe-tapping story of the first Te Reo Maaori song to hit the top of the charts. This will be followed at 3.30pm by Whina (2022, rated PG), the award-winning biopic starring Rena Owen as political activist Dame Whina Cooper. Attendance is free for both screenings but as spaces are limited it is recommended that you book online.

Visitors will also be able to immerse themselves in te ao Maaori (the Maaori world view) by enjoying the Museum’s permanent displays including the majestic Te Winika a 200-year-old carved waka taua (war canoe), and exhibitions such as Katohia He Wai Moou, Katohia He Wai Mooku which brings together the powerful sculptures of world-renowned Tainui artist Fred Graham ONZM.

As well as the Museum’s festival, Waitangi Day is being acknowledged elsewhere around Hamilton Kirikiriroa. Throughout the long weekend Hamilton Gardens is offering free guided tours of Te Parapara, New Zealand's only traditional Maaori productive garden, which are bookable via the Hamilton Gardens website. Hamilton Zoo will also celebrate the public holiday with live music throughout the day on Monday 6 February (standard admission fees apply).

Waikato Museum is open daily 10am to 5pm including on the Waitangi Day public holiday, Monday 6 February 2023. The Waitangi Day events are supported by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

For more information and ticketing links, visit


Please note:

For te reo Maaori, Waikato Museum uses double vowels (uu) in place of vowels with a macron (ū) to represent a long vowel sound. This spelling approach is the preference of tangata whenua in Hamilton Kirikiriroa and Waikato iwi for te reo Maaori words. Artists’ titles are shown in their original form.