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Source: Auckland Council

The following is a statement issued by the Manukau Urban Māori Authority, with the full support of Auckland Council.

After significant consultation with stakeholders, event partners Manukau Urban Māori Authority and Auckland Council have chosen to postpone Waitangi ki Manukau as a precautionary measure.

The free community family day which was to be held on Saturday 6 February in Hayman Park, Manukau commemorates Te Tiriti o Waitangi and attracts thousands annually.

Organisers were expecting a greater surge in numbers this year due to the cancellation of a similar event in West Auckland.

Waitangi ki Manukau was to feature well-known music acts such as Herbs, Che Fu and Annie Crummer with a host of food and retail stall-holders.

“Given that the wellbeing of our community is paramount, you can never be too safe,” says Wyn Osborne, Chief Executive Officer of Manukau Urban Māori Authority.

The principled call was made given the unfolding new COVID-19 cases of the contagious South African variant who were residing in the community at the time they tested positive.

“Holding a concert at this time given our community’s vulnerability would be irresponsible. The risk profile is too great in our mind now, so we are acting decisively according to the best interests of the community we serve.”

The CEO said the decision was not an easy one and made cautiously against the backdrop of a current intensive regime of Auckland wide COVID-19 testing in response to the two new cases visiting 12 published locations of interest.

At the 1pm media stand-up yesterday Director General of Health, Dr Bloomfield said that the list will be further updated on the pair’s movements to “cast the net wide”.

Osborne praised Auckland Council officials for respecting MUMA’s concerns in the spirit of true Treaty partnership.

“At the end of the day, the heightened state of anxiousness and perception of risk felt by the community made it a prudent leadership decision by both parties as we must err on the side of caution until our people are vaccinated to minimise the spread,” he said.

Chair of the council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee and Manukau Ward Councillor Alf Filipaina recognises that this decision has been taken in the spirit of Te Tiriti, the spirit of partnership.

“While, in general, we are being advised by health experts that it is ok for events to go ahead with adequate COVID-19 precautionary measures in place, we respect that our Māori communities are making this important call around changing their commemoration of Waitangi to protect whanau.

“To those people attending events and gatherings across Tāmaki Makaurau this weekend and next, we urge you to follow all health advice and stay home if you feel unwell.

“We look forward to planning Waitangi events with our Treaty partners again next year,” says Alf.