Pōwhiri has a long history and generates deeper meanings beyond the formal enactment of welcome. What happens when this ritual is transferred into contemporary environments, especially those beyond the traditional marae? In particular, how might the performance of this ritual as adapted to suit objectives beyond its ritual origins be seen, even so, to reconstruct and reinforce the sense of identity, communality and belonging—who we are and how we come together—that pōwhiri was evolved to engender?
How can waiata declare and perpetuate one’s belonging to place, to tūrangawaewae? Waiata are commonly performed at pōwhiri, following, and, in support of whaikōrero. Within this context, place is central to waiata. Its purpose is to complement the whaikōrero, ultimately expressing identity, broaching responsibility for, and the significance of place. Place in the form of tūrangawaewae, a place to stand, a purview of the use of language through waiata, contextualizes cultural identity through song.