Controversial Feb 6 Settlers Day celebration postponed

Fri, Jan 27
Tony Waugh says the event is about "bringing together local communities".

Organisers of Kimbolton's Settlers Day celebration have chosen to postpone the day due to potential disruption.

By Enya Murphy

In a recent post to Kimbolton's local community page, organiser Tony Waugh expressed that there has been mixed feelings about holding the event.

"Settlers Day organising committee have been surprised, disappointed and upset at comments on social media.

"What was a simple community family day event, a day of laughter, friendly rivalry between local communities," he added.

The Settlers Day has caused controversy online due to the day being held on Waitangi Day without having local iwi involved in the event.

An event celebrating European settlers, and without reference to Te Tiriti, is being held in Kimbolton on Waitangi Day.

Waugh did express that it was for all within the community.

"Everyone was welcome regardless of their ancestry or tangata whenua."

"Despite the widespread support from local iwi and the Kimbolton community, the day will be postponed.

"The organisers have put the community’s safety as their top priority and decided to postpone the event until a future date can be set," Waugh said.

Ngāti Kauwhata's Meihana Durie talked to 1News after the announcement.

"Our understanding of the postponement is that the organising committee made themselves; we respect that choice.

"Both Ngāti Kauwhata and the Kimbolton community have come to an understanding that each party will work together to better the community."

He wanted to make it clear that Ngāti Kauwhata had no say in the decision to postpone - saying they had a hui with the committee on Monday to further discuss their partnership.

He said the unfolding events were a "challenging time", with threats directed at the iwi becoming "full on."

"The next generation of young people know about the partnership from Ngāti Kauwhata perspective. It's been a challenging time for Ngāti Kauwhata.

"The threats became full on, but we worked to bring it back to what's important."