The Turangawaewae Regatta is an annual event where the gates of Turangawaewae Marae are opened to welcome and unite all people to celebrate in a variety of cultural activities on the banks of the Waikato River.
Over the years there have been many different attractions held during the event including kapa haka performances, waka kopapa & waka ama racing, wood chopping & sawing competitions, rowing, water skiing, power boat racing, horse swimming races across the river, various different bands/entertainers and more recently waka tours and marae tours.
The Turangawaewae Regatta is a Drug and Alcohol Free event which opens with a dawn flag raising ceremony conducted by Waikato-Tainui kaumatua by the Waikato River.
Kingi Tuheitia holds a special powhiri for his guests only on the marae grounds whilst at the same time a whakatau or ceremony is held on the stage by the river, removing all that is tapu allowing everyone to become one and enjoy the event.
Throughout the day there are many different activities on and off the Waikato River ending with a closing karakia or prayer on the stage to conclude the event.
The star of the event has to be the parade of the Waka Taua or Great Maori War Canoes. This experience alone is absolutely breath taking.
The sound of the Putatara (conch) as the Waka Taua sweep majestically into view,
The Karanaga by the Kuia
The change by the Kae (Fugleman)
The answering response by the crews,
The rise and fall of the ‘eyes’ of the canoe
The flashing white tip of the paddle blades,
The straining of the muscles as the canoes are turned,
The return pass the dais,
The fierce Haka Taparahi by the crews on the barge
This is what gives the event it's uniqueness of character, and a pride in the heritage handed down to us by our tupuna or ancestors. This is the cultural wonder of the Turangawaewae Regatta.