Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has confirmed that they will provide a pōhiri for the Tuia 250 Flotilla when it arrives in Auckland today.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei tikanga expert and event spokesman Joe Pihema said as tangata whenua it is an essential part of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei tikanga to offer welcome to visitors.
“As tangata whenua it is our role, and an essential part of my culture passed on to me by my tupuna for generations, to welcome manuhiri.
“Despite the immense loss Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have endured as a result of the arrival of the pākeha, that left us virtually landless and struggling to support our own in our own rohe, we have survived, protected by our whānau and tikanga Māori passed onto us by our tupuna.
“Fundamental to tikanga Māori is welcome and manaakitanga. With dignity and humility, we will welcome the Tuia 250 flotilla to our shores, and when we do, we will ask the intention of the visitors. We will also use the opportunity to share the mamae of our people, as a result of the arrival of the British.”
Auckland City Council Festival Director, Ataahua Papa (Waikato, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Koroki Kahukura) says the arrival of the waka is a rich part of New Zealand’s history.
“The arrival of waka into the Waitematā is a very important part of the narrative that makes up the history of Tāmaki Makaurau.”
She also says many Māori ancestors travelled through these waters back in the 19th century.
“Many of the waka of the Māori migration sailed into Waitematā.”
And today’s event allows this generation to gain a brief understanding of what it was like many years ago.
“The portrayal of waka arriving into the City of Sails is a great way to connect the heritage of all New Zealanders whose ancestors arrived into Aotearoa aboard a waka of some kind.”
There will be many activities for everyone to enjoy throughout Labour Weekend.
The welcome ceremony will commence at 2 pm today and the flotilla arrival can be viewed from the northern end of Queens Wharf from midday.
More to come.