Waitangi Day in Murray Bridge 2018: Maori, other New Zealanders celebrate | PHOTOS, VIDEO

Murray Bridge's Maori community came together at Sturt Reserve on Sunday to celebrate Waitangi Day, the national day of New Zealand.

The day commemorates the signing of a treaty between the Maori people and British settlers in 1840.

Dozens of people came for the harmonious singing, dancing, prayers, a hangi and other food, arts and crafts, a fashion parade which included a show of traditional cloaks, and a performance from Rita Lindsay's Ngarrindjeri dance group Rritjarukar, the willy-wagtails.

Reverend Hohaia Matthews described the treaty's signing as "only recent", and said conversations about the colonisation of New Zealand had not ended there.

"We as the Maori people never ceded our sovereignty," he said.

"But because of immigration there was a political shift, and we're still fighting for our rights as Maori."

However, he gave some credit to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who spent the actual day – last Tuesday – serving a barbecue at Waitangi, after some of her predecessors chose not to get involved.

Murray Bridge Mayor Brenton Lewis greeted the crowd with an enthusiastic "kia ora" and said it was great to see both Maori and Ngarrindjeri cultures being kept alive.

Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick spoke about how different cultures enriched Murray Bridge.

One of his challengers at the upcoming election, SA Best's Kelly Gladigau, also attended.


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