Ngāti Awa to host one year anniversary event to remember the victims of Whakaari.

Whakaari He Rā Maumahara Anniversary

We can confirm that Te Rūnanga of Ngāti Awa (Ngāti Awa) in co-operation with local and national government will host the official remembrance event to mark the first anniversary of the Whakaari/White Island eruption on 9 December, 2019. The event will take place at Te Mānuka Tūtahi Marae, 105 Muriwai Drive, Whakatāne on the afternoon of Wednesday 9th December, 2020. Exact timing and a programme is still being confirmed.

In planning this event we have been speaking with whānau that were most directly impacted by the tragedy. These include the survivors and the families who lost loved ones. The feedback we have received so far is that some whānau would like to participate in an event whereas others would prefer to observe. We are keeping their wishes at the centre of our planning and working towards a small-scale event that is respectful of the families wishes and at the same time provides an appropriate commemoration for the victims.

We have also decided in the interest of public safety to observe Covid-19 Level 2 restrictions even if  New Zealand is at Level 1. This means that we will limit the numbers inside the Mataatua Wharenui to 50 visitors, and the public gathering to 100 people. We will be encouraging attendees to wear masks or face coverings and will ensure social distancing is observed. We will review this decision as the day approaches ensuring that the health and safety of the public is at the forefront of our decision making.

We appreciate that with international borders likely to be closed overseas survivors and the families of victims are unlikely to be able to attend. To ensure that they can participate virtually, the event will be livestreamed and we are inviting these people to provide pre-recorded video content should they wish to. Ngāti Awa will work with its government partners and the local community to provide a larger and more inclusive commemoration event at a future date when travel is not restricted and when we are confident that that Covid-19 virus does not pose a serious risk.

Detailed plans for the event on 9 December are still being finalised and will be published in due course. In the meantime we would encourage you to check the Ngāti Awa website: https://www.ngatiawa.iwi.nz/ where we will providing updates.

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For further information please contact Tui McDonald on 027 252 7017.