23 Oct 2012

Rangitane tribal festival first of many

8:19 pm on 23 October 2012

An organiser of the first Rangitane tribal festival says the event was a success because it encouraged more iwi descendants to reconnect with their people and feel proud of who they are.

The Rangitane Ahurei Wairau 2012 was hosted at Blenheim's Omaka Marae over Labour Weekend, bringing together hundreds of people who whakapapa, or connect with, either the lower North Island or upper South Island branches.

The manager of Omaka Marae, Kiley Nepia, says the festival was a good way of enticing people, especially those who have become isolated from their Maori ancestry, to come to something they know they belong to.

He says the Rangitane Ahurei now provides a flagship that attracts tribal members, as well as non-Rangitane and other parts of the community, to engage with tangata whenua.

Mr Nepia says because the festival is fun and is about getting people involved through sporting events, is family orientated and also caters for the tamariki, then a lot more Rangitane people are likely to keep returning to these festivals.