National | Australia

Huge weekend celebrations expected for Rua Rau Festival in Sydney

Close to 300 people turned up today, the first day of celebrations for the Rua Rau Festival.

We heard historical recollections of what it was like for Māori living Parramatta two centuries ago, but the most interesting fact was that Parramatta was the birthplace of the Anglican Church in New Zealand.

Although they are new faces to this land, the connection with Māori was established a long time ago.

51 elders from the North have trekked across the ditch to Parramatta for these celebrations, which recognise an enduring relationship between their ancestor Ruatara and Anglican minister Samuel L Marsden.

Marsden established the Rangihou reserve for Māori here, but his greatest legacy was perhaps the word of God and organisers say there are huge benefits from these types of celebrations.

Celebrations will continue tomorrow with groups like Ngā Uri O Rahiri and Te Waka Huia taking the stage at The Parade Grounds in Parramatta.