Ahhhhh I almost forgot to tell you about the powhiris I went to! Ok so a powhiri (pronounce the "wh" as an "f", like always) is a welcoming ceremony. The first one I got to go to was super cool but pretty scary because it was the first time I've been to one and tikanga (protocol/behavioral code) is really strict when it comes to the marae. So basically I knew that tikanga is strict, but I didn't/don't exactly know what the tikanga was/is. :P Background story: Iriapa's older sister and her two teenage boys are staying with us because her other two older kids are in the Matatini group. Well the Matatini group is staying at a marae so we went to the powhiri for that. Well, one of the boys was clipping his nails and stopped to ask his mom if it was ok to do that. Well she said no way and had him pick them up and put them in a bag. Apparently if a nanny found one she would growl about it. It's a big deal because if someone has your finger nail or your hair or something, then they could have power over you and do something bad. Then it was brought up that usually at powhiris you wear as much black as you can. But they said it wasn't a big deal this time and so I didn't worry about it. When the group came they were all in black shirts, black skirts, and most had black shoes on. I was suddenly very self-conscious of my BRIGHT GREEN shirt. :P I was so insanely lucky that I thought I might be cold and brought a black cardigan and wore my dark jeans. I mean, my blonde hair gets me enough funny stares, thankyouverymuch. So I pulled that gorgeous black cardigan around myself and felt like I had dodged a close one. When the powhiri started, all the women walk in first and there is maori chanting going on. I held Alison's hand the whole time because I was so worried I'd do something wrong. I wanted to watch but I noticed everyone kind of had their eyes on the ground so I did that too. Anyway, it turned out to be super painless and way cool. Then we sat down (girls in back this time, yay!) while the speeches went on. Our group did a haka and usually there is a waiata (song) after the speeches. Then we kissed everyone and said kia ora and then had a feed!
The other powhiri was for Matatini and they had spear dancing and horses and I was allowed to take pictures :D The speeches lasted forever which wouldn't have been so bad if I could speak maori. The waiatas and dancers were very pretty. I'm completely stoked to watch the competition!