South Wairarapa marks the King’s coronation

Ahead of the glitz and spectacle of Saturday night’s coronation, a much more serene ceremony was held on the banks of Lake Wairarapa to mark the crowning of King Charles III.

A calm, windless Saturday at Lake Domain greeted South Wairarapa Mayor Martin Connelly and assembled guests as they planted a grove of eight trees – harakeke, nīkau, kānuka and tī kōuka – to acknowledge the new King.

A tree planting was chosen in keeping with the King’s commitments to conservation and sustainability.

Representatives of local Māori opened the proceedings with a karakia from Matua Wiremu Dawson (Hau Ariki marae) and a mihi whakatau from Matua Abe Matenga (Kohunui marae).

Mayor Connelly welcomed those assembled and spoke about the kaupapa (significance) of the event and the decision to plant trees to remember the day.

King Charles was a man who had in many ways been proven to be ahead of his time, particularly environmentally, he said.

He followed in the footsteps of a remarkable reign by Queen Elizabeth II, and the day was a historic changing of the guard.

“And of course, I never need an excuse to plant a tree.”

The grove would be enjoyed and appreciated by future generations as well as adding to the health of the lake, he added.

Next to the plantings, a plaque has been installed with the whakatauki: “Māku te ra e tō ana; kei a koe te urunga ake o te rā” (“Let mine be the setting sun; yours is the dawning of a new day”).

Deputy Mayor Melissa Sadler-Futter closed the ceremony along with a karakia from Featherston Community Board member Warren Maxwell (Pae Tū Mōkai).

The group then decamped to Featherston’s Dickensian Bookshop for a British-themed afternoon tea.

Among the many who helped with the organisation and contributed, the Council would like to thank Māori Standing Committee members Violet Edwards-Hina and Leonie Edwards (mana whenua) and other local Māori representatives; Sarah-Jane Jensen from the Wairarapa Moana wetland project; and Niwa freshwater advisor Mark Fenwick.

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