Well it was a bright but chilly start to the LIANZA conference this morning. A small selection of us from the Waiata group met at 8 o’clock and tried to remember the new (to us) tune to Hūtia te rito, before heading over the Victoria Square to join the other delegates. After a quick practice of the Lianza Waiata with everyone, we waited for the Mana Whenua to call us with the pūtātara to start the pōwhiri. Due to a slight technical hitch (the pūtātara was left in the display cabinet) we began with the Mana Whenua calling their karanga. We moved across the bridge and into the amphitheatre as our Kai Karnaga responded. There followed some short speeches from both sides, including Jessica Dorr, who has been involved in the Native American Access to Technology Program. Her Keynote Speech on Wednesday morning will be about the role libraries play in building communities. In support of Jessica we sang our second waiata, that covers the theme of this year’s conference – he tangata, he tangata, he tangata – it is people that are important.
The Pōwhiri programme called for those who had been seated (invited guests and speakers) to take part in the traditional harirū, but our master of ceremonies, Amiria Reriti, encouraged us to all join in before walking across to the conference centre for morning tea, and a chance to see where we would spend our money if we had an endless budget….