Topic: Waiariki Polynesian Festival 1974

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More than 2000 people attended the Waiariki Polynesian Festival held in the grounds of Kawerau College 9 November 1974.

 Special guests included the Māori Queen, Dame Te Ata-i-irangi Kaahu, the Minister of Māori Affairs, Mr Rata, and the President of the New Zealand Polynesian Festival Committee, the Rev. Kingi Ihaka. The traditional welcome to official visitors was given by members of the Rautahi Cultural Group, with Mr G. Hata making the challenge. Local hosts included Messrs M. E. Delamere (Festival Chairman), A. Te Rire (representing Tuwharetoa), and R. C. Stoneham (Mayor of Kawerau). Mr Rata spoke to open the festival.

Two local teams, Rautahi Cultural Club and Ngatiawa ki Putauaki, Te Teko, competed among the eight contesting teams but were unplaced. Ngararanui Club took first place (winning the Waiariki DistricThe Waiariki Polynesian Festival Prizegiving 9 November 1974t Cultural Challenge Shield and $300.00), Te Arawa was second ($200.00) and Tairawhiti Society third ($100). Ngararanui and Te Arawa came first equal in the choral section, sharing the $100 prize and trophy.

The first National Polynesian Festival was held in Rotorua 1972 and these events continued to evolve into Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival.

 The Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum curated an exhibition on the Waiariki Polynesian Festival September 2013-March 2014. 



Tradewind, December 1974, pgs 6-7. website.