Dragon meets taniwha – Welsh honoured with pōwhiri

To the capital where the call of welcome was heard for the honoured guest, Wales, at Pipitea Marae today. This weekend, they face the All Blacks in their second match at Westpac Stadium.

An authentic Māori welcome on Māori soil for esteemed guests.

“As per the customs of our ancestors, we gave them a traditional Māori welcome so they could meet our people and see our culture,” says Taku Parai from Ngāti Toa Rangatira.

Sports egos aside, there was no rivalry on this field with over 120 people gathering to acknowledge the joining of two cultures.

“A large contingent came together today. Ngāti Pōneke Māori Association, Taranaki Whānui, Ngāti Toa as well as TKKM o Heretaunga from Kahungunu. It was lovely to all come together to welcome Wales,” says Holden Hohaia from Ngāti Maru.

Different people who have common values and history. That was the message heard from both sides of the panel.

“They used their media particularly radio in the old days to ensure that the Gaelic language was sustainable and survive. Going back to setting up Māori Television and Māori radio, there was a lot of communication with the Welsh, so they brought a lot of that here today with them,” says Neville Baker from Te Atiawa.

Wales face off against the All Blacks this weekend in their second clash. It's a match locals are calling a fight between the Taniwha and the Dragon.

Hōhaia says, “When we think of Wales and their history and legends compared to our own, they are very similar. It's wonderful to take a traditional perspective on things. It takes us back to our roots. I think it's a beautiful symbolism of our two cultures.”