Māori Cultural Experience Begins Australasia Directors Meeting in New Zealand

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Key Assets Aotearoa welcomed Australasia directors and shared support services to Tāmaki Makaurau.

The week started with a traditional Powhiri, or welcome, at Piringatahi Marae on Tuesday morning. The directors and staff waited at the edge of the Marae grounds to hear the Karanga, or first call of welcome, made by a female elder, or kuia.

After responding to the call, and once in the Marae, the Hongi, or pressing of noses, took place to signify the joining together of hosts and visitors.

We then listened to the whaikōrero, or speech, delivered by the Marae’s kaumātua, or elder.  This was followed by a traditional waiata, or song, from the tangata whenua; local people whom the speaker represented.

As is protocol, Wayne Ferguson, co-director of Key Assets New Zealand, then responded with a whaikōrero, thanking our hosts on behalf of the guests and explaining how our organisation’s work is continually guided by Māori culture. Directors and staff then sang a waiata in support of the words that Wayne had spoken.

Wayne then laid a Koha, or gift, on the ground which was picked up by the kaumātua and the kuia led a waiata as an expression of thanks. Hosts and guests then shared a Hākari, or meal, before learning about the history of the Marae.

We were then taught a new waiata, before the morning was finished with a closing inoi and hīmene, prayer and hymn. The hīmene was sang and delivered by māhanga, or twins, one of whom played guitar and the other who was the owner of a truly beautiful and unique voice.

Back in the office, Directors held a successful few days of meetings. Whilst the schedule was very full, the week went well and the busy agenda was met.

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