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Aratini Finis... 20 November 2021
Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated Chairman Update
After a successful hakari at the Aotearoa New Zealand Pavilion last night where all the participating tribes of the world came to celebrate with us, we agreed before the final day of Te Aratini that this event had to continue to the next global economic expo in Osaka Japan. We sought confirmation from Minister Mahuta and government officials but they were noncommittal to a NZ presence there. We canvassed ourselves and agreed that we should press the government to commit to Osaka or that we could go under our own initiative.
Kahurangi finished it off with a flourish, everyone joining in Tutira Mai before Ed Tuari (from Tokomaru Bay) gave the closing karakia… then it was all over rover!!! Phew - relief it was over with regret that it flew so quickly! Hi fives, hugs and kisses with a few tears from all around the world with promises to keep in touch. One of our crew said it felt a bit like “carrying for 9 months and once the baby is born you feel sad for a while because the baby now belongs to the whole whanau, not just you anymore.” We went quiet, then snapped out of it, then all agreed it must be time for a drink and informal debrief and we headed directly and rowdily to our pavilion.
Hayden Hape (Tamaki Nui a Rua), Danielle Keil, Mere and I, and Paddy Mason (Kahungunu ki Wairarapa - Wero NZ Manuka Honey)
Friday was the final day so we all prepared for that. Presenters from many countries provided a canopy of business advice through poetry, song and dance in a formula of creative expression that we’ve brought in spades to this Expo. Ambassadors from many other nations also turned out for the finale to see the mauri of Te Aratini handed over to the governing body, the BIE (Board of International Expo). So with light and colour, solos and symphonies, it was time to conclude with speeches by Nanaia, Clayton Kimpton and myself delivering the mauri to the BIE for safekeeping until Osaka Japan in 2025.
In the meantime though, Hayden Hape had dizzied off to celebrate his birthday alone going exploring that morning and we missed him until we hopped on the airport bus 2 days later. We didn’t get the chance to share with him as he’d been a vital part of our tour party up to then.
At the pavilion Minister Mahuta was surrounded by her Emirati Ministerial counterparts paying final tributes for her visit. Our Minister has had a heavy & busy schedule and has been representing us proudly. She has however also ensured that where her schedule has allowed spent time at Te Aaratini & with our delegation. The Minister shared with us that in one of her official engagements with a Sheik & Emirati Ministers, she presented him a duplicate mauri stone to be retained in Dubai as a permanent token of “tolerance and inclusivity” which was the theme of the whole expo for this week. A member of his staff commented that he had never seen the Sheik show any emotion in his 20 years of working in his office!
Before we headed back to the hotel we were informally told that there would be a pavilion in Osaka after all and Te Aratini would continue there. Well well well! Back at the hotel we all once again debrief and review our week till the wee hours under a balmy dusky Dubai sky.
The next day is a free one for everyone who mostly chose to go camel riding and sand dune climbing hosted by Omar and his wife while Mere and I do our Xmas shopping all day looong! Then it’s time to repack, then review before being woke up by Danielle at 4am saying that the airport bus would leave without us if we didn’t shake a leg… ah well…too relaxed, too chillaxed, nearly got axed..
Goodbye Dubai ae marika pai!!