UP to 300 people attended the Ngai Tahu Treaty Festival at Te Rau Aroha Marae in Bluff on Waitangi Day.
Hosted by Te Runanga o Awarua, the festival commemorated the 178th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and began with a powhiri and a formal welcome.
Among the dignitaries, the Governor General was represented by Lieutenant Commander Nigel Finnerty, the resident naval officer for Southland, from the Royal New Zealand Naval Reserve, and a keynote address was presented by noted Maori leader Sir Tipene O’Regan.
Bluff is the closest town to Ruapuke Island (20km), which was one of three Te Wai Pounamu (South Island) locations where Maori signed the treaty in 1840.
Each year the commemorations rotate between the three locations where Ngai Tahu signed the treaty, which also include Otakou Marae on the Otago Peninsula and Onuku Marae on Banks Peninsula.