A cultural celebration: Mandurah gets set for Waitangi Day

Taressa Schurmann, Maurice Heta-Tohu, James Tioro and Jo Matthews are gearing up for Mandurah's fifth annual Waitangi Day celebrations. Photo: Justin Rake.
Taressa Schurmann, Maurice Heta-Tohu, James Tioro and Jo Matthews are gearing up for Mandurah's fifth annual Waitangi Day celebrations. Photo: Justin Rake.

A wave of Maori and New Zealand culture will wash over the Mandurah foreshore with the fifth annual Waitangi Day celebrations set to draw a crowd later this month.

Traditional foods, entertainment and market stalls pertaining to Pacific Islander heritage will be on show as the local New Zealand community comes together for a day of celebration.

But for event organisers and local Maori elders like Jo Matthews, it's more than just a fun day out.

"Waitangi Day is so important to us because we get to preserve our culture," she said.

"It's about remembering our roots and honouring our ancestry, so to be able to bring people from other walks of life together and showcase that culture is a great feeling.

"I get such a buzz every year when I take a look down the foreshore and see everyone enjoying the day and soaking up that experience."

The event incorporates a number different backgrounds and cultures into the festivities, with Ms Matthews labelling it a "day to come together."

"It's funny because back home these different cultures and people didn't really mix, but you come to Australia and you find yourself all bumping into each other," she said.

"So we want people from all places to come together on the day and really embrace it.

"It's about more than just the Maori side of things."

Supported by the City of Mandurah, the day will be opened by official welcoming ceremonies, with dance and music acts to play throughout.

Adding to the attractions will be the Kiwi Riders, who will ride their Harley Davidson bikes through to the foreshore.

Waitangi Day will be held on Saturday, February 22, kicking off at 9am and going through to 4pm.