This video has been created to hold the space of Mana Whenua, traditional custodians of this land, to welcome you.

The video is followed by the Taranaki Story video, developed in collaboration with the Taranaki community to show the true breadth and diversity of local strengths, initiatives, and innovations and what makes Taranaki a great place to live, work, learn, play, and invest. 

You can watch the video below, plus it is also playing in the Puke Ariki Theatre daily on the hour and half hour from 10.30am to 4pm. Run time is 13 minutes.

Mana Whenua over the land, including Ngāmotu – New Plymouth, is held by the Hapū (tribe) Ngāti Te Whiti, descendants of Te Whiti o Rongomai, who lived in the late 1700s. Their right of occupation is based on continuous occupation by generations of connected ancestors from the earliest kinship groups such as Moturoa, Ngāmotu, Ngāti Tuparikino, and Ngāti Tawhirikura. Their land extends from the Herekawe River to the south to the Waiwakaiho River to the north. 

The video has aimed to capture this experience and weaves in the traditional elements of a ‘whakatau’, a welcoming process. Traditionally, a ‘Pōwhiri’ is held at Marae, the collective home for the people of that land, and would follow strict ‘kawa’ or protocols required to shift an environmental state from ‘Ōkawa’ formal and constrained to that of

‘Ōpaki’, relaxed and settled. Where it is not possible, a whakatau allows for drawing on those elements needed to complete the process in the physical and spiritual worlds in a contemporary setting. Tau can be considered a state of calm/ease; whakatau is the process to achieve this.

Māori have a strong connection to the land and environment and are also known as tangata whenua, people of the land. Natural elements and features are considered with spirit. For instance, Taranaki Mounga, our mountain, is regarded as an ancestor. The spiritual realm is a significant part of Te Ao Māori (the Māori world), and alongside the acknowledgment of Atua (gods), the spirits of ancestors are also recognised in our presence with us.

The process is opened with three blows of the Pūkaia, calling to alert the living, followed by our ancestors passed, and creating a pathway to settle both into the proceedings. The call of the Karanga (ceremonial call of welcome) acknowledges guests from all walks of life, followed by those departed, connecting us to this land and acknowledging Ngāti Te Whiti as its guardians. It then speaks to the prominent philosophy in Taranaki, the Raukura, a symbol of honour, peace and goodwill to all. The Karakia (prayer) formalises the creation of the space and sets the intention for it. All elements to this point are respectfully kept in Te Reo Māori before the English translations are provided where the Pepeha begins, which explains Ngāti Te Whiti’s identity, connection to the land and historical narrative. This establishes the ‘Mana’ of Mana Whenua to hold the space from which the mihi speaks on their behalf to acknowledge and welcome our visitors.