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Fabulous Flaxmere: Three BIG days

Colour, culture, music and family fun: Next week is going to be a massive in Flaxmere, with four big events over three days starting Thursday.

The opening of the new Flaxmere Park playground is on Thursday [June 13] after school, the blessing of the new 15-hectare Waingakau Village development and the Matariki Whanau Festival are on Friday, and the inaugural Flaxmere parkrun is being held on Saturday.

Everyone is invited to everything, says Hastings District and Flaxmere Ward councillor Henare O’Keefe.

“It is going to be incredible. Three days of colour, culture, family fun, music, play, and celebrations. There is something for everyone and we welcome all, from far and wide, to come and enjoy our Fabulous Flaxmere.”

The first event is the opening of the newly revamped playground in Flaxmere Park, one of Hastings three premier parks. It stars the highest rope climbing frame in Hastings, giving kids a real challenge, a and new slide tower (generously funded by Trust House Community Foundation and First Light Community Foundation), wheelchair accessible merry-go-round, sand play, basket swings, and a mega swing suitable for young adults – making it all-ages friendly.

The opening is being held at 3.30pm on Thursday, June 13 – timed to make sure children can get to the park after school.

“A lot of community support and help has gone into this project, and we want to thank them, especially our children who have designed the flags for the park and been hands-on, helping put in more than 400 plants,” says Mr O’Keefe.

On Friday morning, Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga will hold a blessing ceremony for the new 120-home village being developed within the suburb, with ground works due to start the following week. The visionary plan, supported by Hastings District Council, is to provide warm, healthy, quality affordable homes, using a co-housing model that supports the inter-generational community by enabling social interaction. The ceremony starts at 10am, at Te Aranga Marae, in Boston Cres.

On Friday night [June 14], the largest of the three events will kick-off at 5pm. The Matariki Whanau Festival is held in Flaxmere Park huge every year, drawings thousands to enjoy good company and excellent entertainment: singing, dancing, kapa haka, and hip hop, followed by a lantern-lighting ceremony to allow loved ones to be remembered, and then fireworks.

The Fireworks “will light up the sky over Flaxmere while beautiful music fills the heart and soul,” says Ngati Kahungunu event manager Te Rangi Huata.

“There’s nothing more stunning then watching a whole family look heavenward as the fireworks decorate the skies with beautiful patterns and pretty colours, and in time to beautiful uplifting music. It’s quite magical seeing families enjoy the spectacular view.”

There will be a huge range of foodies to buy dinner from at the pop-up food court in Flaxmere Park’s car park, from Polynesian, Thai and Asian cuisine, to ice cream, toffee apples, nachos, seafood chowder, kebabs, hangi and much more.

Taking the crowds on the journey will be MCs Crystal Edwards and Henare O’Keefe.

“Our Matariki festival is all about everything that is very special to our people, both the Flaxmere community and our wider Hastings whanau. It is awesome that Ngati Kahungunu brings us this fantastic annual celebration of our Maori New Year,” says Mr O’Keefe.

Last, but definitely not least, is the inaugural parkrun, being held at 8am on Saturday [June 15] in Flaxmere Park. Held all over the world, Flaxmere is the world’s 1870th parkrun and New Zealand’s 29th. Fully run by volunteers, they are all about bringing the community together for fun and a run.

It is not your regular fun run. Held weekly (in New Zealand always on a Saturday at 8am) the 5-kilometre runs are timed, so those who want to can check their improvement week-to-week.

But there is no pressure to be world-beating, says organiser Philip Shambrook. “You can go at a pace – a run or a walk – that is comfortable for you.”

Everyone who registers with parkrun before Saturday (, prints out and brings their bar code, and completes the course will receive a voucher for a free breakfast of French toast and fresh fruit.


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