A maori cultural festival experience

Feb 4, 2020

Waterbourne, prides itself as New Zealand’s Premium Water Sports Beach Festival, Bringing unique cultural experiences that only New Zealand can offer, celebrating and incorporating aspects of Maori Culture within itself as a reflection and a showcase of what New Zealand has to offer the world. 

The indigenous people of a nation carry an importance to a nations culture and history. Each country has different customs and traditions that are affected by the history of its people, which is often a story of colonisation and the culture of its indigenous people. In New Zealand, our indigenous people are the Maori. Modern New Zealand is a nation that places importance on celebrating and representing our nations Maori history and hence has integrated various customs and traditions into aspects of our lives which has become synonymous to our identity as ‘Kiwis’. Things such as Haka’s, Hongi, and Powhiri have become traditions unique to the nation of New Zealand.

Waterbourne integrates an important part New Zealand’s culture, having a Powhiri to launch the festival, with a range of cultural shows and musicians throughout the beach festival.

Some may be asking, ‘What is a Powhiri?’ The Powhiri is a very important part of Maori Culture and therefore a very important part of New Zealand’s culture as well. A Powhiri is a Welcoming Ceremony that is seen as a spiritual joining of two parties, the ‘host’ and the ‘visitors’. The Powhiri is used to formally greet parties in a way that acknowledges the history and the intention of each group. Waterbourne lays a huge importance in this part of the event because it formally recognises the guests but also brings the attendees in and welcomes them in a truly significant and unique way that you will not find anywhere else in the world. 

The way a Powhiri is done can range from place to place but a typical Powhiri starts with a challenge, this is called a wero. This is where a warrior from the hosting party check the guest’s intentions. This is done by the warrior laying a token down for the visiting party to pick up, showing peaceful intent.

This is followed up by a call of welcome which is called a Karanga. This performed by an older woman from the host and this is a signal for the guest to begin moving in. This is accompanied by a Haka Powhiri, spiritually pulling the guests onto the grounds. 

The Karanga is then followed by speeches and songs which are intended to acknowledge the past present and future such as ancestry and the reason for gathering. 

To follow up on this, there is greetings where the parties greet each other with a hongi, which is a ceremonial touching of noses, sharing ones lifeforce. 

After the greetings, food is served in the tradition of hospitality where the sharing of food signifies the two parties are now one.

Alongside the Powhiri, Waterbourne also includes multiple Maori Culture performance nights highlighting the premium cultural arts that New Zealand has to offer while also offering Live music nights where world class international artists are on, showcasing New Zealand’s Maori artists on a very unique global stage.