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Kicking off summer at Anzac Bay

Anzac Bay Summer Kick Off Crowd. Photo: Lousie Lambert

Tucked away in the Western Bay of Plenty, the idyllic Anzac Bay is expected to welcome hundreds of attendees for the second year of the Anzac Bay Summer Kickoff Festival on Saturday, 2 December 2023.

Initiated by Waihi Beach Community Events and Promotions, the free-to-attend festival debuted in 2022. Event organisers were motivated to celebrate and spotlight the unique stories and charm of the Waihi Beach community through a family-friendly outdoor event distinctive to Waihi Beach.

Inspired by the unparalleled beauty of Anzac Bay, the harmonious blend of coast and harbour creates an exceptional backdrop to host a festival. Event organisers are hopeful for good weather to showcase the perfect festival atmosphere.

Waihi Beach Community Events and Promotions Event Coordinator Matt Nicholson says while neighbouring towns like Katikati host the renowned Avocado Festival and Whitianga boasts the Scallop and Seafood Festival, the team recognised a golden opportunity for Waihi Beach with this festival.

“We envisioned the Anzac Bay Summer Kickoff Festival not only as a festive celebration but as a positive force for community connections and a draw for visitors eager to experience the magic of Waihi Beach.”

“Our goal is to foster a sense of pride and connection among locals while enticing visitors to explore and appreciate the uniqueness of our vibrant community,” says Nicholson.

The festival will suit individuals and families wanting a fun day out from 2:00pm to 6:00pm, with various activities available for kids, including arts and crafts, hair braiding, and more. Food trucks and incredible performances from local artists will also be showcased.

Musical performances will range from waiata māori and party classes from the Harmonic Resonators before Stylus perform their funk and soul styles with flavours of Polynesian reggae. Matty and The Buxtones, led by Matty Buxton and Regan Perry, will close the afternoon.

The festival is focused on bringing people together to enjoy the setting and celebrate local history as heritage and culture are woven throughout the afternoon.

Building upon knowing Anzac Bay's cultural significance, the Waihi Beach Community Events and Promotions team collaborated with local hapu from Otawhiwhi Marae to create the festival.

The Waihi Beach Community Events and Promotions Marketing Coordinator Jana Marston says the partnership allowed them to embrace the area's cultural richness and communicate its significance to a broader audience.

“By integrating these cultural elements into the event, we aim to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation for the land, creating a space where traditions can be shared and cherished,” says Marston.

The event organisers are committed to educating the local community and visitors throughout the festival and aim to encourage attendees to embrace and care for the Whenua.

Local Tauranga Western Bay Community Event Fund (TWBCEF) granted $10,000 towards the festival’s second year of operation. The fund is a partnership between Acorn Foundation, BayTrust, TECT, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council designed to simplify the funding application process and reduce the barriers to applying for community event funding. The funds’ core purpose is to support community-led events that encourage participation and are free or low-cost.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s Community and Strategic Relationship Manager, Jodie Rickard says supporting this event through the TWBCEF fund has allowed event organisers to be supported in enhancing their event logistics to elevate the overall atmosphere.

“Attendees will benefit from a more immersive and enjoyable experience, with a broader range of activities and attractions that contribute to the event's vibrancy.”

“They’ve created an event that not only is a great afternoon out for people of all ages but also creates a platform for cultural celebration and storytelling for the community,” says Rickard, “People will learn more about where they live or holiday, and be more connected to the area, with a greater appreciation.”

Event Details:

Anzac Bay Summer Kickoff Festival
Saturday, 2:00pm – 6:00pm 2 December 2023
Anzac Bay, Waihi Beach
FREE to attend. Facebook @waihibeach

Anzac Bay Summer Kick Off Mayor James Denyer with Kapa Haka on Stage. Photo: Lousie Lambert

Waihi Beach School Kapa Haka. Photo: Louise Lambert

Photo: Kiwidroneography

Reon Tuanau. Photo: Shaq Coulter