Ngai Tahu leader Edward Ellison will give a special online presentation on Waitangi Day, hosted by the Central Otago District Council (CODC).

In his talk entitled Wahi Tupuna, Mr Ellison will speak about significant Central Otago landmarks and share traditional stories that are an important part of local Ngai Tahu history, culture and traditions.

“Our history is in the land, recorded in traditions and place-names left by the ancestors that span time,” Mr Ellison said.

“The presentation seeks to give an insight to what we refer to as wahi tupuna (places of our ancestors).”

The event on Sunday will run from 10-11.30am, including time for questions and discussion at the end of the presentation.

Mr Ellison is upoko for Otakou Runaka, chairman of the runanga based consultancy Aukaha, chairman of the New Zealand Conservation authority and strategy and planning committee member for the Otago Regional Council.

In late December the council and the combined Otago runanga made the joint decision to cancel the official Waitangi Day celebrations that were to be held in Alexandra given the Covid-19 pandemic and the risks of organising a large-scale event.

CODC chief executive Sanchia Jacobs said while it was disappointing to have to cancel the in-person celebrations in Central Otago she was glad there was still to be an event held online to mark the important day.

“Waitangi Day has always been my favourite New Zealand public holiday because, until this year with the establishment of Matariki, it was the one day that was truly about our country.

“I have always thought of Waitangi Day as more than a holiday though.

“It is a chance to reflect on our unique history on how far we have come, and how far we have to go. It is a chance to sit back and honour this place we call home, and a day to feel grateful.”

She said she was especially grateful that kaumatua Edward Ellison would be taking the time to host a special online event for all members of the community to learn more about the Ngai Tahu history of Central Otago and hoped people would tune into it.

The link to the online session will be available on the council website and social media channels this week.