On Saturday December 2nd the Anzac Bay | Waipaopao Summer Kick-Off Festival delivered a magical day in the popular picturesque Bay! A free event that provides an opportunity for the community to come together before the busy summer season kicks off. This was the festival’s second year running, it’s grown from strength to strength attracting an impressive 1000+* visitors this year.

The action kicked off at 2pm with Reon Tuanau of Te Whānau a Tauwhao of Otawhiwhi opening the festival with a pōwhiri and korero. Reon spoke of the significance of Anzac Bay | Waipaopao and encouraged the crowd to be kaitiaki | carers of this beautiful whenua. He also shared the stories of Waipaopao and this year’s festival focus – He Oranga Taiao, He Oranga Tangata – A Healthy Environment, A Healthy People.

The Waihī Beach School | kura kapa haka group entertained their home crowd with powerful and moving performances! Next up the live music line-up begun with the ever so popular ‘The Harmonic Resonators’ starting the party. The whanau band featured waiata Maori and party classics with lush harmonies, yodels and energetic jams.

Te Puke based Stylus then took to the stage and laid down their funk and soul styles with flavours of Polynesian reggae. Matty and the Buxtones closed out the festival with their hip-swinging, soulful sounds. Led by Matty Buxton and Regan Perry, the ace five-piece band have become a big part of the Mount Maunganui/Mauao music culture.

On top of the impressive live entertainment, the festival provided plenty of activities to keep the kids’ entertained! From festival face painting, balloon folding, hair wrapping, to a colouring in creative corner, nature hunt, traditional weaving workshop, plus the team from Coromandel’s MoreFM were on site running their ‘Beat the Bar’ promotion, which proved very popular.

Festival goers certainly didn’t go hungry either! With a great selection of food trucks on site to keep everyone satisfied. This included mouth-watering street food, ice creams, donuts, candy floss, coffee and gourmet sandwiches. Plus Harcourts Waihī Beach kindly provided a free water station to ensure everyone was well hydrated.

“The collaboration between Waihī Beach Events & Promotions and Te Whānau ā Tauwhao enabled the community and visitors to come together in a significant spot here at Waipaopao, to learn more of the history and to celebrate the start of the summer season,” says Reon Tuanau of Otawhiwhi Marae. “The kaupapa around this event is so positive, we can encourage our tamariki to care for our whenua for the future.

Waihī Beach Community Events & Promotions would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous support, without their support this event wouldn’t happen. Major sponsors – Harcourts Waihī Beach and Tauranga Western Bay Community Event Fund (Which comprises of TECT, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Tauranga City Council, Acorn Foundation and BayTrust). Plus supporting sponsors – Waihī Beach RSA, Oceana Gold, Creative Communities and Beach Road Garden Centre.

They also appreciate the support of Reon Tuanau and Otawhiwhi Marae; Waihī Beach School and Liam Ryan of Torch Entertainment.

(*Event visitation forecast by event organisers and sponsors)