Government House, Wellington, New Zealand
23 October 2012

President Benigno S. Aquino III participated in the traditional Maōri dance of welcome called Haka Pōwhiri through Wero (ceremonial challenge of native Maōris) and Hongi (the pressing of noses and forehead) when he arrived at the Government House of New Zealand in Wellington.

The highlight of the Haka Pōwhiri is during the Wero where the President picked up the tapu or dart placed on his feet by the Toa or warrior while keeping his eyes on the Toa. The whole gesture symbolizes that the Chief Executive came in peace. He was guided by the Maōri elders Mr. Lewis Moeau “Kaumatua” and Ms. Hiria Hape “Kuia” during the entire ceremony.

After the dance, the President was officially received by Governor General Jerry Mateparae and his wife Lady Janine Mateparae while being accorded by the Royal Guard of Honor with a 21-gun salute. He was also greeted by members of the diplomatic corps and some students from St. Marks Church School.

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