I had not attended a powhiri for some time, and was part of one today for a work occasion. Every time I am involved with one I get kind of emotional - it's the singing that does it. (Not my singing, and especially not today - of the 3 chosen waiata for the manuhiri, I knew one - and they did not use that one... )
It's the singing of any Maori group that does it. There's something about the resonance, tonality and conviction that makes me have to bite really hard on my own jaw and try not to cry!
Double that feeling when today the tangata whenua was a group of high school students, welcoming us to their marae. Powerful stuff. I felt wholly welcomed. And I could have listened to them sing all day.
It was interesting was the array of cultures that had come together for a professional learning experience on the marae. Our small group had representatives from Samoa, Nuie, Hungary, India, England, South Africa, - all mainly immigrants who have chosen to come and live here - and of course Aotearoa New Zealand. Diversity seemed to be the untitled theme of the day. Gotta love South Auckland. In a good way.