Left to right: The High Commissioner's Spouse, Mrs. Joyce Scanlan, the Aunt of HM Kiingi Tuehitia Potatau Te Wherowhero VII, Te Aroha Tai-Rakena, and the Samoa High Commissioner, HE Leasi Papali'i Scanlan.
Photo credit: @Kiingitanga on Facebook.
From 8-11 July, the Samoa High Commissioner (HE Leasi Papali’i Scanlan) and Mrs Joyce Scanlan joined the other High Commissioners and spouses from the Pacific Island Countries in Hamilton to participate in the Tainui Pacific Matariki Cultural Exchange Program.
The Program was sponsored and organised by the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade and the Pacific Cooperation Foundation and kindly hosted by the Kiingitanga and Tainui Iwi at the Waikato-Tainui Endowed College. Many other Special Guests (including Pa Ariki of the Cook Islands & Dame Luamanuvao Winnie Laban) and Distinguished Speakers from throughout the Pacific attended this very special, well-organised Program.
The Occasion was mainly to celebrate and explore the special relationship and shared Whakapapa between Pacific and Maori Peoples through a series of events, facilitating cultural knowledge sharing and discussions on key issues such as Language Revitalisation and Climate Change.
On the first day, the Delegates were welcomed onto Tuurangawaewae Marae with a Poowhiri hosted by the Kiingitanga and several Tainui Iwi Leaders. As Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, HE Leasi Scanlan was given the honour to respond to the Kiingitanga Whaikoorero, on behalf of the Visitors. Following the sharing of food, the Delegates were then transferred to Hopuhopu where they were enriched on the history of the Kiingitanga by Mereaina Herangi.
Throughout the weekend, the Delegates heard from several prominent Pacific Island and Maori Speakers about the rich history of the Pacific Peoples and the close ancestral ties with the Tangata Whenua of Aotearoa. Whanaungatanga, Manaakitanga and Kaitiakitanga were important themes that formed the basis of the Presentations and discussions.
On Friday evening Delegates were honoured to be invited to the Ohomairangi Creative Gala Event at the Wintec, in the presence of HM Kiingi Tuehitia Potatau Te Wherowhero VII and Makau Ariki. The display of many colourful and beautiful Pasifika fashions that evening was strong testimony to the amazing talents of Pacific Island fashion designers.
At the conclusion of the Program, Delegates agreed on the value of ongoing discussions about the Maori/Pasifika relations and how this could be further enhanced through joint programs and projects. Language, Culture and Climate Change continue to be areas of high priority. In his intervention, Leasi posed the challenge on the need for some concrete actions going forward. Housing and employment are other important areas worth looking into. The Samoa High Commissioner was again given the honour to speak, on behalf of the Delegates, to thank the Organisers of the Program (MFAT & PCF) as well as the Kiingitanga and Waikato Tainui.