Pōwhiri has a long history and generates deeper meanings beyond the formal enactment of welcome. What happens when this ritual is transferred into contemporary environments, especially those beyond the traditional marae? In particular, how might the performance of this ritual as adapted to suit objectives beyond its ritual origins be seen, even so, to reconstruct and reinforce the sense of identity, communality and belonging—who we are and how we come together—that pōwhiri was evolved to engender?
Like a number of fundamental Māori rituals and practices, pōwhiri have appeared in New Zealand fiction feature film since its beginnings in the silent era. Pōwhiri are multisensory, kinaesthetic experiences that, for most Māori, recall one’s tūrangawaewae—where he or she stands and belongs—because, in general, the predominant experience of pōwhiri is at home, amongst one’s own community. This article critically analyses pōwhiri as it has been constructed in New Zealand feature film history. It first presents an historical overview of pōwhiri and then focuses on Tearepa Kahi’s Mt.
This article discusses issues related to participating in and performing Māori culture within non-Māori settings. The paper explores the possible meanings and implications of holding pōwhiri as part of education events, using a research approach that integrates narrative research and autoethnography with Kaupapa Māori scholarship in educational research.