Powhiri to welcome newcomers to Bay of Plenty

A special event for migrants in the Bay of Plenty will be held today at Whareroa Marae, Mount Maunganui, with the first powhiri to formally welcome newcomers to the region.

The first powhiri welcoming migrants in the Bay of Plenty will be held today at Whareroa Marae at Mount Maunganui.

The event, hosted by Ngāi Te Rangi Iwi will include multicultural performances and is free for anyone to attend.

“Being part of a society that welcomes people of all nations is simply the right thing to do,” says Ngāi Te Rangi CEO Paora Stanley.

“Doing this as an iwi brings an even great value to this process. Te Runanga O Ngai te rangi Iwi Trust is proud to be part of this process and we look forward to seeing you all on Saturday July 10.”

The event will also be attended by the NZ Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon.

Members of Multicultural Tauranga, a local organisation that has been working in the migrant settlement sector for the past 25 years are excited that  Ngāi Te Rangi  are formally welcoming all migrants who have made Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty their home at this special event.

Multicultural Tauranga President Premila D’Mello is hopeful for a good turnout at what is regarded as a prestigious occasion.

“This will be a formal and very special day that we hope all migrants in the Bay of Plenty will attend,” says Premila.

“We have enjoyed a special connection with the migrant communities in Tauranga and we encourage migrants and cultural community leaders to attend this event.

“We are honoured to work with Ngāi Te Rangi. We have been in touch with several migrant groups and we are eager to see all the significant migrant communities represented on the day.”

Premila says the NZ China Friendship Society has also been very proactive in contacting the communities.

“We are very grateful for the support of the Tauranga/Western Bay Welcoming Communities team in co-organising this event,” says Premila.

Tauranga City Council’s Diversity and Culture Adviser Haidee Kalirai hopes individual migrants and cultural community groups spread the word and organise their groups to be represented at this special occasion.

“We often hear from newcomers that they would like an opportunity to visit a marae, increase their understanding of Māori culture and build a relationship with Māori as tangata whenua - people of the land,” says Haidee. “This event is an important step in achieving this for all newcomers in our area and creating a sense of belonging to all.”

The day begins at 9.30am with assembly at the gate of Whareroa Marae, 25 Taiaho Pl, Mount Maunganui.

A powhiri and formal speeches follows, including songs in various languages.

Speakers on behalf of the guests are Meng Foon, Jason Whareroa and Ray Totorewa. The migrant community speakers are Anish Paudel – Nepalese, Lawrence Kautai – Pacific Islander, Cora Burch – Filipino, and Jackie Xian – Chinese.

There will also be speeches by Labour List MP Jan Tinetti, Fungai Mhlanga and Premila D’Mello.

After a shared lunch there will be multicultural performances by South Indian, Chinese, Philippines, Cambodia and Nepalese groups as well as kapahaka performances.

This event which runs from 9.30am – 3pm is free and all are welcome. Everyone is encouraged to wear their traditional cultural dress and to bring a plate of food to contribute towards a shared lunch.

Attendees are invited to register their attendance on Eventbrite

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