We got up early, were fed a great breakfast at the Student Centre, and then headed downtown to the headquarters of the Ngai Tahu. It is the principal Māori iwi (tribe) of the southern region of New Zealand, and its tribal organization is called, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (TRoNT). The TRoNT is made up of representatives of 18 local runangas (local councils), and is similar to NTI in Nunavut.
Our visit began with a formal Powhiri (welcoming ceremony) which involved being sung in by a Maori woman, taking our seats on one side (men in front of women), listening to speeches and then songs by our hosts, offering a speech and a song ourselves, presenting a gift to them by placing on the floor between us, and then going through the hongi, an individual greeting where people touch their foreheads and noses together.
We were impressed that all the organization's leaders were present at the event. They gave us presentations presentations about the Ngai Tahu, their history, their 1998 land rights agreement, and the various undertakings they are making to improve the lives of their people.Part of their recent settlement involved a formal apology from the New Zealand government for the historic wrongs that had been done to the Ngai Tahu (shown here beside Neevee). There were several opportunities to eat during the day, and they always gave us good chances to socialize and meet people. Finally, it was our turn to give a presentation. Paula began by giving a brief overview of Inuit history, then we showed them the final segment of the Staking The Claims video After that, the students put on a performance of drumming, singing, throat singing and Inuit games.The audience was enthralled!Before departing late in the afternoon, we engaged in an exchange of gifts. The Upoko (head leader of the Ngai Tuahuriri), Jonno Croft, presented Nooks with a carving and books about the Ngai Tahu, and then Lyla presented him with a gift bag with information about Nunavut and a wall hanging.When it was over, we loaded everything up into our rented vans, and headed back up the coast to Kaikouri.