Kāi Tahu leader Edward Ellison will give a special online presentation on Waitangi Day, hosted by the Central Otago District Council.

In his talk entitled Wāhi Tūpuna, Mr Ellison will speak about significant Central Otago landmarks and share traditional stories that are an important part of local Kāi Tahu history, culture and traditions.

“Our history is in the land, recorded in traditions and placenames left by the ancestors that span time,” said Mr Ellison. “The presentation seeks to give an insight to what we refer to as wahi tūpuna (places of our ancestors).”

The event on Sunday 6 February will run from 10-11.30am, including time for questions and discussion at the end of the presentation.

Mr Ellison is Upoko for Ōtākou Rūnaka, Chair of the rūnaka based consultancy Aukaha, Chair for the New Zealand Conservation Authority and Strategy and Planning Committee Member for the Otago Regional Council.

In late December Central Otago District Council and the combined Otago rūnaka made the joint decision to cancel the official Waitangi Day celebrations that were to be held in Alexandra given the Covid pandemic and the risks of organising a large-scale event.

CODC Chief Executive Sanchia Jacobs said while it was disappointing to have to cancel the in-person celebrations in Central Otago she was glad their was still to be an event held online to mark the important day.

“Waitangi Day has always been my favourite New Zealand public holiday because, until this year with the establishment of Matariki, it was the one day that was truly about our country. I have always thought of Waitangi Day as more than a holiday though. It is a chance to reflect on our unique history – on how far we have come, and how far we have to go. It is a chance to sit back and honour this place we call home, and a day to feel grateful.

“I am especially grateful that kaumatua Edward Ellison will be taking the time to host a special online event for all members of the community to learn more about the Kāi Tahu history of Central Otago and I hope we get good numbers of people taking the opportunity to tune into that.”

The link to the online session will be available on the Council website and social media channels this week.

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