NZ: Ngāti Whātua Host Pōwhiri for Obama

 Unique to Aotearoa New Zealand, the traditional pōwhiri  for the former US President took place this afternoon at Government House in Epsom, Auckland.

Whenever a formal pōwhiri of this significance takes place in Auckland city, the host iwi (tribe) for Tamaki Makaurau is Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.  Tamaki Makaurau Auckland is their rohe (tribal land/territory). They are tangata whenua for Auckland city rohe.

Hence, it is the iwi/tribal leaders of Ngāti Whātua who are waiting in the tent to welcome Barack Obama as part of the pōwhiri .

The kaikaranga (female karanga caller) standing next to Obama throughout the pōwhiri is  the wonderful Te Amohaere Morehu. Steeped in te ao Māori (the Māori world) and fluent in te reo, Te Amohaere is representing Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, taking care of Obama and the other manuhiri (visitors).

Te Amo, ever the gracious host and a wahine I highly regard, directs Obama’s visiting delegation when they begin to arrive on the rear lawn, as to where they need to stand as they await the start of the pōwhiri.

On each side of the rear lawn of Government House, a small pool of accredited media are snapping photos, facebooking live, and filming.

Of all the media pushing this out on Facebook Live, Te Karere had the clearest live streaming and clear sight lines.

Te Karere are well resourced to do that,  with the access they have to TVNZ’s resources.

Te Karere Extra 

After the pōwhiri, the former US President then met with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern inside. She will be hosting Obama at a dinner this evening.


Tonight’s high powered dinner coincides with the formal opening night of Auckland’s Pasifika Festival at Western Springs.

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Post Author: Vienna Richards

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