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Maori welcome

34 Comments

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie receive a powhiri (Maori welcome) from local Maori warriors at the Government House grounds in Auckland on Monday morning. In photo below right, Abe exchanges a hongi, a traditional Maori welcome with Kaumatua (Maori tribal elder) Lewis Moeau.

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Do people always bring spears or clubs to a welcoming ceremony? Nobody looks very happy...

http://www.korero.maori.nz/forlearners/protocols/powhiri.html

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Do people always bring spears or clubs to a welcoming ceremony? Nobody looks very happy...

only those in the picture do not look happy....rather nervous.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

guy on left: "is he really going to strike the Japan PM?"

0 ( +3 / -3 )

How about the Maori nose rub?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Not quite nervous ,but folks have a look on their face that says, "WTF..how am I supposed to respond to this?"

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Awesome photo! They really do look threatened and frightened.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I like Abe's clenched fist as well. It really looks like he is ready to go mano a mano.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The hui ( meeting), usually on a marae. It begins with a pwhiri (a welcome).

If a visitor is noteworthy, he or she may be welcomed with an aggressive challenge by a warrior armed with a taiaha (traditional fighting staff), who then offers a token of peace, such as a fern frond, to the visitor. Acceptance of the token in the face of such aggression is a demonstration of the courage and mana (charisma) of the visitor. The pwhiri is highly structured, with speeches from both hosts and guests following a traditional format, their sequence dictated by the kawa (protocol) of that place, and followed by waiata, songs. Hui are held for business, for festivities or for rites of passage such as baptism, marriage and death. It is appreciated if foreign guests can say a few words in Māori and sing a song they are familiar with as a group.

So, they welcomed Abe, etc to show their welcome with their proper culture.

Not related to this article but Japan had similar meeting customs (Samurais) in feudal eras. (Ogasawara-ryu).

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Indeed, the Abe,s facial expressions are priceless.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It seems that Abe is not interested in Maori culture at all.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

If a visitor is noteworthy, he or she may be welcomed with an aggressive challenge by a warrior armed with a taiaha (traditional fighting staff), who then offers a token of peace, such as a fern frond, to the visitor.

Thanks, Toshiko. The things they are holding are taiaha, then. To me, that part of the tradition seems strange, especially since those being welcomed don't share the tradition. The rest of the ceremony sounds interesting.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Abe's security detail looks worried!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I just think if the PM and his entourage were briefed about the Maori style welcome the looks on their faces won't be that way. But as it was the hoist country just don't know how to treat a foreign dignitary and the word protocol or they did it intentionally. If so, don't they want friendly diplomatic ties? Surely there are other ways a Maori can welcome a visitor! ASnd just like the earlier poster, I did like much the clenched fist of PM Abe!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The First Lady looks spaced out; perhaps contemplating what kind of food she will have to consume that evening.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I like Abe's clenched fist as well. It really looks like he is ready to go mano a mano.

He's holding a panic button and looks ready to press it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They probably saw their tattoos (reference tattoo-adverse Japan)

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Abe and his wife have that kind of sneer which shows they think these people are beneath them. They are wondering when the Japanese "comedian" is going to appear and do some silly prank like on Japanese TV....

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Not so sure those warriors are as close as they appear to be. This type of camera shot gives the impression that objects (in this case people) are closer than they seem.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They might be showing solemn respect for another culture.

We could do the same.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

They are shocked!, there is a culture that is actually active outside of Japan.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Hope when PM comes back to Japan, he will make Japan treat its own native people Ainu just like New Zealand people treat Maori people so that next time dignitaies come to Japan, Japan can show unique culture instead of imitation of China tyoe cultures.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Not quite nervous ,but folks have a look on their face that says, "WTF..how am I supposed to respond to this?"

respond through collective self-defense right (!)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is hilarious but the prime minister & wife obviously don't see the humor. Compare this with Kate & Prince George's Maori welcome in April, 2014.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

its actually disrespectful to smile or laugh during a Maori welcome, so a neutral or serious face is the best approach

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Rare photo of the Japanese First Lady.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I don't see the hilarious side of this uncompromising incident. It just goes to show what a bunch of kids the host country is. The host country shld have the decency to brief the visitors on what to expect so no more uncompromising situation like this would happen. At the end we understand the similarity of our roots. Thanks to all the aborigines of the world!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

As WTF said, no smiling or laughing during a Maori welcome. Mr. and Mrs. Abe were just showing respect and that's why no sign of animation. Here's PM Abe in another formal setting (in France) He looks pretty much the same as in the Maori pic http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/japanese-prime-minister-shinzo-abe-stands-during-a-ceremony-news-photo/488269437

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's pathetic that people are criticizing various people/countries based on a snapshot in time, which tells absolutely nothing about what happened before the picture, or what happened after, and contains no information to back up their suppositions.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We kiwis are a misunderstood people, it seems, haha. Abe and his entourage are doing the right thing in this photo. Basically, the only way to screw up being received like this would be to smile or laugh. His solemn expression is the right show of respect.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In a case like this it is ceremonial and the visitor would have been briefed on what to do and how to behave, it has proper protocol.

Maintain eye contact, don't smile or laugh, accept the challenge by picking up the fern frond, after rub noses with the warrior.

Some comments on here clearly show ignorance and cultural insensitivity

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think it is great that New Zealand keeps the culture and has Maoris do the "meet and greet!" No different than the Hawaiian gals with the leis as dignitaries step off the plane. Sure it is unnerving, but livens things up a bit! I agree that the Ainu should be given more spotlight. Is there just one Maori custom of this or are there various different groups with different languages as in North America or Australia for example? Even the Ainu have different groups and customs. Just wondered. Anyway, maybe PM Abe is thinking about the less expensive weapons of choice here....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Here's PM Abe in another formal setting (in France) He looks pretty much the same as in the Maori pic http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/japanese-prime-minister-shinzo-abe-stands-during-a-ceremony-news-photo/488269437

You're absolutely right! I'd never noticed that he clenched his fists like that.... or maybe they were going to feed him slightly old duck pate for the French welcoming ceremony.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Akie looked terrified as if she felt it was an execution and the othr guy behind Abe looks just as terrified!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Both of them are solemn, like they have respect on Maori welcome of them. Clench. Sure They were tense to watch different marshal arts than shinai, naginata or yari..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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