Henderson-Massey Local Board is to request an increase in regional funding for the Waitangi@waititi event, one of the largest annual events in West Auckland.
At its first business meeting of the new term, the board agreed to request that the council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee review and increase the current funding allocation for the event - as well as consider entering into a multi-year funding agreement.
Held at Hoani Waititi Marae, the event has grown from approximately 10,000 attendees in 2015 to around 35,000 in 2019 and currently receives $25,000 in regional funding each year. It also receives funding from the three West Auckland boards, with Henderson-Massey contributing $10,000 per year as part of a three-year funding agreement.
Henderson-Massey Local Board Chair Chris Carter says the board was unanimous in agreement on the issue.
“It was clear from the support around the table that more funding should be allocated to this event”, he says.
“Attendance has seen the event grow from a local celebration of Waitangi Day to a destination event of regional and national significance, and as such we feel the council should recognise and support it as it does other similar events across Auckland.
“Congratulations must go to the event organisers, the Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust, but they need more support to continue delivering such a magnificent event.
“Our role is to assist them by finding the means to provide more financial support. Of course, we understand there are financial pressures across council budgets, but we do believe there will be ways in which financial support can be provided, and we will be presenting the case to the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee with that in mind.”
Henderson-Massey Local Board member Vanessa Neeson, who tabled the proposal, says that the event is of such significance to residents of Auckland and a showcase of Māori leadership and self-determination, that its level of regional funding should be increased.
“In a city and region that celebrates its unique Māori identity, and as a council that seeks to empower Māori and work alongside of its community, the Henderson-Massey Local Board, along with the Waitākere Ranges and Whau Local Boards, have been proud supporters of the Waitangi@Waititi event since its inception”, she says.
“The event has many benefits which not only includes a great whanau friendly free day out open to all, but it is an event that facilitates successful Māori identity and leadership. So, we strongly recommend further funding to help with the event.”