Ngāti Te Whiti takes centre stage at the reopening of Puke Ariki's new cinema experience

Te Puna Umanga Venture Taranaki, the regional development agency, in collaboration with Ngāti Te Whiti, NPDC’s Puke Ariki, and supported by Puke Ariki Trust and NP Partners, is thrilled to announce the development of the new welcome video, titled "Welcome to Ngāmotu, Taranaki".

The video is set to be housed in the museum’s cinema space, which is reopening to the public on Monday, December 11, 2023.

The project was initiated with the goal of creating a regionally specific and culturally authentic welcome for visitors and has been a collaborative effort from the start. The aim was to capture the essence of Taranaki and honour mana whenua, partnering alongside Ngāti Te Whiti hapū to provide education and insight from a hapū perspective while extending manaakitanga (hospitality) to our manuhiri (visitors).

“Through this video, Ngāti Te Whiti share how our Hapū preserve, protect, and enhance the mana, identity, and general wellbeing of Ngāti Te Whiti Hapū. He mana whenua, He mana tangata, He mana Motuhake o Ngāti Te Whiti! Welcome all visitors to our paradise,” says Ngāti Te Whiti Chair Julie Healey.

‘Kei te haere mai te wā, ka puta he waa rino, ki te kete o te Tai Hauāuru, ka kawea ngā tamariki o te atua’

Healey explains how this process and the sentiment of the new video relates to the whakatauki above, gifted to a kuia of Ngāti Te Whiti, Miri Tatana Te Keha, by Te Whiti o Rongomai Te Tuatoru (Māori spiritual leader and central figure of Parihaka Pā), and speaks to the arrival of ships, relationships, and the collective collaboration of Tau Iwi (non-Māori) and Tangata Whenua of Ngāmotu.

The video, follows the tīkanga (protocols) of the 'whakatau' process, infusing traditional elements with a contemporary setting.

The 'whakatau' process, akin to the Pōwhiri to marae, begins with the sounding of the Pūkaia, symbolising a call to alert the living and ancestors. Taonga Puoro performed by David Trinder, support the corresponding elements throughout the process. The Karanga, delivered by Te Raumahora Healey-Raharuhi Hema, then acknowledges guests, connecting the living to the departed and recognising Ngāti Te Whiti as guardians of the land. A Karakia formalises the space, and the Pepeha follows, providing English translations to Ngāti Te Whiti's identity, connection to the land, and historical narrative.

Transitioning into English, the narrator, Damon Ritai, shares the story of Ngāti Te Whiti and reiterates the welcome. The video then seamlessly moves into wider regional content, showcasing the unique qualities of Taranaki—from visitor experiences and attractions to environmental, economic, and social aspects of the Like No Other region.

The wider regional content has been repurposed from the Taranaki Story asset library, launched in 2021 by Venture Taranaki, and shows the true breadth and diversity of the region's strengths, initiatives, and innovations and what makes Taranaki a great place to live, work, learn, play, and invest.

"We extend acknowledgments to all those who have collaborated on this, particularly Ngāti Te Whiti; it is a privilege to be able to support the voice of hapū, capturing the essence of our people and place, and connecting this with our visitors," says Brylee Flutey, GM Destination at Te Puna Umanga Venture Taranaki.

John Leuthart, NP Partners Lead, agrees and says, "The new video is a great example of partners working together, acts as a powerful welcome for visitors, and is a starting point to spark curiosity and encourage further learning about our unique region, histories, and stories. It is not only an asset for visitors but an experience our locals can be extremely proud of and see themselves in. I encourage everyone to come to Puke Ariki and see it for themselves.”

The 13-minute long "Welcome to Ngāmotu, Taranaki" video is poised to be a significant addition to the Puke Ariki cinema space, offering a culturally rich and regionally specific welcome to visitors. The public can view the new video and cinema space from 11 December 2023.

“The launch of the new video asset and the cinema experience is timed perfectly, with the region anticipating a bustling summer of visitation. This includes an influx of 8,000 international cruise passengers arriving at Port Taranaki through seven ships from December to March," concludes Flutey.