May 15, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

NZ welcomes visiting UK ministers in traditional style

2 min read

Kia ora whanau – we came across this post which provides some interesting observations from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK):

Foreign Secretary William Hague, Defence Secretary Liam Fox and Chief of the Defence Staff General Richards experienced a powhiri

The Conch shell sounds – members of the welcome Kapa Haka group in traditional Maori dress make a striking first impression of New Zealand.

The ritual of encounter began with a matataki or wero, a challenge that was issued to the visiting ministers and delegation.

This unique ceremony is used to ascertain whether the visitors come with peaceful intentions or otherwise.

A warrior, wielding a weapon used by his ancestors, advanced towards the visiting party.

After a series of movements with his weapon, the warrior laid a taki, three darts, on the ground in front of Foreign Secretary William Hague, Defence Secretary Liam Fox and Chief of the Defence Staff General Richards.

While keeping eye contact, each branch was picked up by each visitor. Maintaining eye contact indicates that the group has arrived with peaceful intentions.

A stirring karanga'(a call) was issued – which formally initiated the powhiri'(welcome).

There are three calls; they bid you welcome to the area, they acknowledge those who have fallen and recognise the reason for your visit.

The Kapa Haka group performed a haka powhiri which is a chant of welcome. This was a moving and spine tingling experience for all members of the visiting delegation.

Once the haka powhiri was completed the delegation was invited to hongi the leaders of the group. The hongi is performed by the gentle pressing together of noses. This signifies the sharing of the breath of life.

Welcome to New Zealand, and the renewal of a warm and close relationship with the United Kingdom.

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