(6-October-2006) Plans for the third Tauranga Moana, Tauranga Tangata Festival are nearly final and the event is set to top the 6,000 attendees who came in 2004.

A biennial event, the Tauranga Moana Tauranga Tangata Festival is a showcase of Maori arts, crafts, culture, and entertainment. It will be held from 21-23 October.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Our Place, Our People.” All events will take place at Sulphur Point in Tauranga with the exception of an Art Exhibition held all weekend at The Cargo Shed on Dive Crescent.

Saturday’s main event is the Hapu/Marae Kapa Haka, which was hugely successful during the 2004 festival. This is a celebration of Tauranga’s own kapa haka, which is drawn from local marae and hapu. During the last festival more than 2,000 people watched the show.

The line-up on Sunday includes the Variety Show, which features drama groups, dancers and musicians. The Mahuika Fashion Show is also set to be a key attraction, and features traditional korowai and natural fibre wearable arts and will be combined with a Kaumatua dinner to open the evening.

A village-type atmosphere will be created at Sulphur Point with marquees to showcase the arts and culture of Tangata Whenua. Attendees will be able to enjoy arts and crafts and food stalls.

The festival wraps up on Monday 23 October with the Marae March Parade, a new event, and the Tauranga Taupatupatu, which has been an important part of each of the past two festivals. The purpose of this event is to highlight the importance of Te Reo Maori within Tauranga Moana.

“This is a great festival that reflects the unique culture of the Tauranga Moana region to the visitors attending the event,” said Tim Burgess, General Manager of Tourism Bay of Plenty.