Pōwhiri at Raphael House


Raphael House welcomed in the new year with a pōwhiri which was embraced by the whole community. This powhiri exemplified kotahitanga (unity) and whanaungatanga (communal and social responsibility), acknowledging Aotearoa New Zealand's bi-cultural heritage and the important relationship that mana whenua  (local Maori tribal entity) have with our school.  The pōwhiri was met with beautiful summer weather, and gave many whānau the opportunity to experience this unique ritual of encounter.  The resonating sound of the pūtatara (conch shell) signalled to the manuhiri (guests) to make their way by the zig-zag path to the Lower School courtyard.  It was on the arrival of the manuhiri to this point that they were welcomed with karanga (female oratory) and haka pōwhiri (chants of welcome), which drew the manuhiri towards the many staff and students who were waiting for them.


The manuhiri were welcomed by Noel Wood, Richard Howard, Caroline Gray, and David Stephenson on behalf of the teachers, Board of Trustees, and parents.  The children who were moving into Class 1 were given candles by their Class 12 senior peers as heartfelt gestures of their transition into the Lower School.  Once the pōwhiri formalities had been completed, the procession moved into the Eurthmy Room to partake in the sharing of kai.  It was during kai that a new pare (carving that is placed above a door entrance) was unveiled.  This pare symbolised the connection between Rudolph Steiner and mana whenua, and was a profound statement of the dual importance that each has within our community.  


The community then brought this event to an appropriate completion through waiata (singing) and karakia (prayer), which was a fitting end to a wonderful day.