Ngāti Whātua has kicked off the inaugural Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival event with a traditional welcome at Ōrākei Marae.
It's the first time a dedicated Māori event will feature significantly during celebrations since the city was founded in 1840.
After being approached by ATEED to hold the welcome, a number of Māori MPs attended with local leaders, council and organisers. Ngāti Whātua said it was only fitting to launch the event at Ōrākei, the marae being the gateway to Auckland City.
Taiaha Hawke says, "It's a huge event for the council and for Auckland City to be able to showcase Māori culture, treasures and aspirations to the world. There have been many events previously which had minimal Māori input and participation however this is a new beginning for us to work together at this time."