The man in charge of the Waitangi National Trust's big day out next week says he is as ready as he can be for the nation's biggest cultural event.
Waitangi Trust chief executive Greg McManus has been involved in cultural extravaganzas before, having come to the Northland job last year straight from being director of the Rotorua Museum of Art and History.
"But nothing the scale of this, even if it is a well-oiled machine," Mr McManus said a week out from Waitangi Day. "It's been really exciting and a little bit nerve-racking."
His part in the preparations has been mainly "watching, listening and learning" and chairing the Waitangi Day governance group.
That committee held its last meeting on Friday, with everyone confident the necessary arrangements and contingency plans were in place, Mr McManus said.
Last year visitors to the trust-organised festival in the Treaty House Grounds numbered between 30,000 and 40,000, down on the 55,000-plus of the previous year. As well as Waitangi Day itself, many thousands of people attend the day before when politicians and dignitaries are welcomed at Te Tii Marae and when the games, sports and entertainment start at the sportsground across the road from the treaty grounds.
Once again the two-day Waitangi festival on February 5-6 will have a big international audience, with the large media presence including hundreds of television and film personnel alone, Mr McManus said.
All stallholders are required to use recyclable containers and wrapping, Mr McManus said. "We have slowly been moving toward a zero waste situation here."
The Treaty House Grounds are in fine fettle, with the gardens looking lovely and, thanks to the Royal New Zealand Navy's recent efforts, there is a new paint job on the flagpole. Mr McManus was confident all that was needed to ensure a great day was sunshine.
But it is a matter of waiting to see what Waitangi Day 2013 will be remembered as: a family festival of colour and culture enjoyed by many participants and spectators, or defined for those who are not there by images in the media of a handful of disruptive people.