By Rawiri Smith
Collaboration is important in New Zealand as a method of bringing communities together to work on complex problems. A useful collaborative model is the Powhiri, practiced by Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, for hundreds of years.
The formal welcome to an area in New Zealand is a Maori process known as the Powhiri. The Powhiri recognises the mana of all the participants. One of the most important values of the Maori people is manaaki, or caring for the mana of everyone. The Maori word mana means the importance associated with a person. The performance of a Powhiri acknowledges the importance of a person being welcomed to an area.
The deeper meaning behind the Powhiri process gives more meaning and indicates what should be occurring through the Powhiri.