Programme / Opening Ceremony

P?whiri and Opening Ceremony

From 4.30pm on Saturday 12 March, registered participants and supporters are warmly invited to take part in a parade and an authentic Maori welcome (P?whiri) in Te Papa, our spectacular National Museum. The Outgames will be formally opened by the Governor-General of New Zealand. The Ceremony will end with refreshments.

To attend the P?whiri and Opening Ceremony, you must first have picked up your Outgames Snapper ID card from the Outgames Hub inside the Wellington Town Hall.


4.30pm Registered participants and supporters gather at Civic Square, adjacent to the Wellington Town Hall. Civic Square is where Out in the Square (the annual gay and lesbian fair) is being held. In this festive atmosphere, people from 21 countries will organise into country and city groups.
5.00pm We parade from Civic Square, across the city to sea pedestrian bridge to the waterfront, and then to an area outside Te Papa. We will be briefed on the formal M?ori welcome (P?whiri) at this point.
5.40pm-6.25pm The P?whiri or welcome will take place on Te Papa Marae, a fully functioning marae (meeting place). Manuhiri (visitors) assemble outside and wait for the karanga (call) to enter the marae. Once settled inside, a very structured welcome of speeches and songs follows.

More details are given below.

6.25pm-6.50pm The Governor-General of New Zealand will open the 2nd AsiaPacific Outgames. Participants and supporters will be welcomed by the Mayor of Wellington and GLISA representatives.
6.50pm-8.30pm The final act to complete the formalities is the sharing of kai (food). Hosts and visitors are now one group and together they share food which will be served in the Wellington Foyer of Te Papa. There will be a cash bar. This is a time for informal mingling and maybe a few surprises. Let the 2nd AsiaPacific Outgames begin.

The P?whiri, Te Papa and the 2nd AsiaPacific Outgames

The P?whiri, or M?ori welcoming ceremony, establishes or renews connections between the home people and their visitors on the host community?s ground (the marae). It prepares the way for hosts and guests to come together. The rules of the encounter are set by the hosts. The occasion is highly significant for M?ori, as both groups are under a heightened state of tapu (or restriction) which the ceremony will lift.

The kawa (protocol) of the marae starts with manuhiri (visitors) assembling in a group outside the waharoa (gateway), and awaiting the karanga (call) from the iwi kainga (Te Papa staff) women to proceed on to the marae. Following the karanga, visitor women respond with their karanga.

At Te Papa (and throughout M?oridom generally) male and female identities each have specific roles at these encounters. As we?ve noted, host women start the encounter, and the visitor women lead their group onto the marae, followed by the men. Before being seated, homage is paid to the deceased of both groups (tangi).

For the welcome by Te Papa to the Outgames, male VIPs and speakers will be seated in the front row. Female VIPs will be seated behind the male VIPs together with men on the second row. (If you are not sure of where you should go, people who identify as men stay with the men, people who identify as women, stay with the women.) When everyone is settled, the Maori speech making that follows is conducted by the men ? each speech is followed by a song.

For this ceremony, the p?eke (tradition) that will be used is that iwi kainga (local) orators lead the greetings and speak one after the other. After that, manuhiri (visitor) orators respond. Then hosts and visitors join together in hongi (pressing of noses) and r?r? (handshake). For this ceremony, the dignitaries and important guests of the 2nd AsiaPacific Outgames will represent all participants and supporters and hongi with the hosts.

In recognising and celebrating the bi-cultural heritage of Aotearoa/New Zealand, M?ori and non-M?ori elements are incorporated in the Te Papa p?whiri. There are speeches in M?ori following M?ori protocol, then speeches conducted in English or any other language by male or female representatives. The lifting of the state of tapu on both groups is concluded by the sharing of food.

Lyrics and music

Download song sheetDownload song sheet (PDF)

Download song sheetDownload music for Kia Mau Ki Tenei Mea Nui a Te Aroha (MP3)

Download song sheetDownload music for Pinepine Te Kura (MP3)

More information

Find more information about the M?ori customs, names and history at Te Papa Marae here.

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man with medals

David Fairey - Official Photographer