The power of the Pōwhiri

The morning of January 31 dawned exceptionally bright and beautiful. The air was warm, the sea was sparkling, and there was barely a cloud in the sky. For the new teachers and students, particularly our Year 9s, the scene was set for their formal welcome to Westlake Girls’ High School. Their nervous excitement was palpable. 


Students and staff filed into the Event Centre and talked in muted tones as we all waited for the special event. 


In a magnificent ceremony lasting approximately one hour, a special group of Iwi and family members were present from Te Tai Tokerau and Taranaki amongst our manuhiri to hand over our new Dean of Māori students, Alice Burnett. Hearing our Event Centre filled with the musical sounds of this beautiful language was a profoundly moving experience. The Pōwhiri included a mihimihi from our principal, Jane Stanley, acknowledging the importance of the event. 


Main image above: School kaumatua Jerry Norman speaking to our Head and Deputy Head Prefects.


Our kuia, Whaea Drina Paratene (Ngāti Pāoa) performs a karanga on behalf of the school.
Te Rerenga Wāna (Westlake Girls Kapa haka) in preparation for the haka pōwhiri.


Taitokerau representative Toronge Pene addresses the school.