Another successful Tūwharetoa Kaumātua Dinner was held at the Great Lake Centre, Taupō on 12 October with more than 400 kaumātua in attendance, representing 34 marae.

The event is a joint initiative between the Trust Board, Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust (TST) and the Ngāti Tūwharetoa Fisheries Charitable Trust (NTFCT). This year NTFCT funded our Tūwharetoa Ki Kawerau Marae (Hahuru, Oniao, Umutahi and Tohia o te Rangi) to attend. The event is to celebrate and acknowledge our Kaumātua who uphold the tikanga and kawa of our marae. Our marae nominate their Kaumātua to attend. It’s a night where our Kaumātua are the focus and they get to catch up with whānau and friends and have a good time.

As always, our Kaumātua looked amazing! ‘Elegance’ characterised the night with a black and gold colour theme, star lanterns on the roof and crystal glass chandeliers. The beautiful harakeke flower table centrepieces lit by fairy lights were designed by Paretuiri Simeon, our whanaunga from Korohe.

The evening kicked off with an introduction from the MCs, Trust Board CEO Topia Rameka, and TST Chairman Rakeipoho Taiaroa, who entertained our Kaumātua throughout the night with waiata and jokes. Our Tūwharetoa Pakeke group (kapa haka), led by Les Owens also entertained us and had Kaumātua join in. The Brown Brothers and their Motown Band, led by Russell Harrison had our Kaumātua take to the dance floor on the first song.

Each year, our Kaumātua are gifted a small token of appreciation – this year they received a hot/cold vacuum drink bottle which supports our Para Kore Marae initiatives. Tūwharetoa Ki Kawerau thanked the sponsors and organisers: “Our Kaumātua had an awesome time and they were so boogied out, the bus was very quiet on the way home! Staff looked after everyone and the night was just awesome!”

We’d like to give our special thanks to all those involved in making the evening a success and sharing in the whanaungatanga and manaakitanga of the night.

Ngā mihi to all our Kaumātua who make it so special.

View more photos of this special event in Issue 15 of Te Kōtuku here.