The Māori Kingi along with hundreds of Kiingitanga supporters gathered at the Waikato marae of Horahora to mark their 85th Poukai held on New Year's day.
The Kingitanga brass band heralds the beginning of the Poukai of the Pākehā New Year.
“This is a new year for us to look at what is before us in the future,” said elder Pat King.
“The thoughts and hopes of our people are expressed at Poukai gatherings.”
It's an opportunity for the Māori King and King Movement supporters to mourn the loss of those who've within the year that's passed and to also discuss the main issues in Māoridom.
“An invitation has been extended to attend the 150th anniversary of the Ringatū faith,” said Kiingitanga spokesperson Rahui Papa.
“So, the King is keen to attend because his grandchild has been baptised under that faith. And also it's the 150th anniversary of the Rātana faith. Some of Te Arikinui Te Atairangi Kaahu's grandchildren have been baptised in that faith. And it's the 160th anniversary of the King Movement”
Chair of the Māori King’s Council of 12, Hemana Eruera Manuera says, “Besides our genealogical ties we are also joined through the traditional gathering of the Poukai (we host) as requested by our elders.”
Horahora marae originally hosted the gathering in mid-September but was moved to the 1st of January in 1933 as endorsed by Kingi Koroki in celebration of the festive season.
“Our focus is to unite our whānau, that they return here to their real home for sustenance,” said marae trust spokesperson, Wayne Knox. “To connect with the land and everyone here.”
“Most of our families return to help and uphold the values of the King Movement,” said hostess Materita Moewai Moana.
“I've actually quite enjoyed coming back and helping out in the kitchen and meeting my whānau,” said youth Karamea Watene Taurerewa.
“It means everything for me to come back. I'm just grateful for my aunties and uncles for bringing me back and my Nan also.”
Kingitanga supporters will head to the Bay of Plenty to Kokohinau marae who will host their 55th Poukai on the 14th of January.