A Guide to Powhiri

Pōwhiri at Orientation is the beginning of your relationship with WelTec, formally marking and celebrating the first step on your journey with us. 

Pōwhiri usually consists of the following stages:

1. Karanga (call)

This is the first and unique call of welcome in the pōwhiri. It is performed by women and is usually started by the tangata whenua (the people who are welcoming you on) and is followed by a response by the manuhiri (the new people and visitors).

Action point – when the karanga on your side starts, move forward and find a seat, but don’t sit straight away. Wait until the karanga stops and take your cue from others who will let you know when to sit.

2. Whaikōrero (speeches)

Formal speech making follows the karanga. Speeches usually begin with a section that acknowledges those who have passed away and then lets the listeners know where the speaker comes from. The remainder of the content of the speeches usually refers to the topic of the pōwhiri. For this pōwhiri, speakers will be referring to your new journey, and to your search for knowledge and qualifications.

3. Waiata (song)

A song is sung after each whaikōrero by the group that the speaker represents. There will be speakers on behalf of you, the new student. If you know the waiata that is being sung, please feel free to stand up and join in.

4. Koha (gift)

Traditionally a gift is given to the tangata whenua (hosts) by the manuhiri (visitors) usually in the form of food or clothing, woven mats, kites etc. This will not be expected on the day for the Whitireia pōwhiri.

5. Harirū (shaking hands)

The manuhiri physically engage with the tangata whenua through hongi – pressing of noses and sharing of breath which signifies the joining together of tangata whenua and manuhiri. You will be invited to come forward to harirū - shake hands and hongi.

6. Hākari (feasting)

The final part of the process is to eat food together which signifies that the manuhiri and tangata whenua are now one. This usually signifies the end of the pōwhiri. Because of the presence and acknowledgement of ancestors, food is also used as a way to bring you back to normal daily life.

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