Pōwhiri Meretoto

The event on Thursday, November 21 is not open to the public.


Pōwhiri is a Māori ceremony to welcome manuhiri (visitors).

At Meretoto/Ship Cove the Pōwhiri will be welcoming the crew of the Tuia 250 flotilla to Te Tau Ihu
o Te Waka-a-Māui (Top of the South Island).

Representatives of the four tangata whenua iwi; Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Ngāti Kuia, Rangitāne o
Wairau and Te Āti Awa o Te Waka-a-Māui, will lead the Pōwhiri.

It is important to note that the ceremony at Meretoto/Ship Cove is not a re-enactment of Cook’s
arrival, but a cultural welcoming ceremony.

The Tōtaranui 250 Trust, in conjunction with the four tangata whenua iwi, has invited
representatives, dignitaries and selected media to attend the Pōwhiri, the DOC reserve will not be
open to the general public on 21 November, 2019.

To ensure the on-water safety of the flotilla vessels, exclusion zones will be in place and enforced by
the Harbour Master.

Leisure vessels will be able to view the flotilla adjacent to Meretoto/Ship Cove Bay.


More about Pōwhiri:

The Wero, is commonly referred to as a challenge. The purpose of the wero is to determine if the
manuhiri come in peace or war. If the take or token of peace is accepted appropriately then it is a
signal that the manuhiri come in peace. Once the wero is completed then the karanga starts.

A karanga will be taking place at the same time by the kaikaranga (female caller).

After the manuhiri (guests) and tangata whenua are seated, whaikōrero (speeches) will then
commence. Each iwi then has time on the papae (speaker’s space), concluding with a speaker from
the manuhiri presenting koha, and making the final whaikōrero.

Physical contact in the form of a hongi lifts the tapu.


The ceremony concludes with kai and refreshments.


In 2019, New Zealand will mark 250 years since the first meetings between Māori and Pākehā during James Cook and the Endeavour’s 1769 voyage to Aotearoa New Zealand. Tuia – Encounters 250 will acknowledge this pivotal moment in our nation’s history as well as the extraordinary feats of Pacific voyagers who reached and settled in Aotearoa many years earlier.

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