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16/02/2018 9:00am

Special community award for key role in growing Matariki Waihi

The Mayor paid a surprise visit to Waihi East School last week to present Deputy Principal Rachael Coll with a special award for her contribution to local Matariki Celebrations.

“This award is a big deal,” he said, “I only give these out occasionally, about once or twice a year, when it is extremely well deserved.”

On this occasion he said he couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of the award than Ms Coll, who has played a key role in growing Matariki Waihi from humble beginnings into a shining example of how communities can successfully work together to celebrate our bicultural heritage.

Last year more than 1500 people took part in the local Matariki hikoi (march), at least 100 people attended a special dawn viewing and pōwhiri, and more than 400 children swung pois and piupius on stage.

Ms Coll was surprised and honoured to receive the award, which she said was a real team effort from too many people, agencies, and schools to mention individually.   

“This award proves that our kaupapa (topic of Matariki) is being placed in high regard within Hauraki and Aotearoa. Ngā mihi nui (huge thanks) to our Mayor John Tregidga and the Hauraki District Council for acknowledging the importance of Te Ao Māori (Māori world) in our community.”