Council performs waiata for local iwi

Horowhenua District Council now has its own waiata, one of only a handful of local authorities with their own song.

Titled Te Kaunihera o Horowhenua, it has been written and composed by a focus group of council staff under the guidance of Tipi Wehipeihana of Ngati Tukorehe.

The waiata's creation followed on from staff participating in cultural awareness training at Tukorehe Marae late last year.

The waiata was performed by staff in public for the first time at the council meeting on Wednesday evening.

Among the people sitting in the public gallery were six representatives of local iwi Ngati Whakatere, who quietly stood while council staff sang.

Chief executive David Clapperton said their gesture was "honourable and respectful" and showed that they appreciated council's efforts and good intentions.

Clapperton said the waiata continued council's steps to express how it valued the iwi and hapu in the district and its work to better consult and engage, as well as show respect for Maori culture and protocol.

There are two versions of the waiata - a shorter one for use at formal occasions and the full version which is more upbeat and includes actions, for use at informal occasions.

Tipi Wehipeihana said he was delighted with the staff member's support, attitude and participation in developing, learning and performing the waiata.

Manawatu Standard