Here is a link to experience the welcome:
Before the experience is faded by time.I am pausing to reflect and write about after returning home from attending a conference in Hamilton, New Zealand. It is interesting to think about time. Time passes quickly when we know that we have a limited amount. Like a few days grabbed from the week to attend a whirlwind of a conference. Mauri Ora/Healing Our Spirit Worldwide was the title and there were many speakers who told encouraging stories of bravery and survival.
The conference was a powerful meeting place for Indigenous peoples from around the world. And also a cultural experience of the native language of New Zealand. Unlike western style conferences, the focus was on a daily Karikia literally translated as a prayer or chant. As a point of interest a karika was performed at the ending of all of the sessions whether they were key note or presenting their individual stories. This practice was the most beautiful experience, it felt like we the delegates were being truly welcomed in the spirit of the land.
The conference opening or Pōwhiri was held at the King’s Marae, we were welcomed with a traditional Haka, Karikia and welcome speeches. Then followed a huge meal or kia, feeding over 1500 people. The first day was dedicated to this welcome for the spiritual well-being of all the people visiting and those who were attending the conference.
Below is a copy from the Healing Our Spirit Worldwide conference site on the beginnings of these 5 yearly conferences:
Healing Our Spirit Worldwide is an Indigenous movement which began in Canada in the 1980s to address the devastation of chemical abuse and dependence among Indigenous people around the world. The focus has been to address the underlying issues and difficulties that predispose this particular behaviour among Indigenous people.
The first Gathering in Edmonton in 1992 attracted 3,500 people from 17 countries. The first and subsequent Gatherings have been a cultural and spiritual movement celebrating the tenacity and resiliency of Indigenous people around the world in their struggle against alcohol and drug abuse. This has been achieved through the development of successful proven models and programmes. Health and governance issues in relation to substance abuse have been a more recent focus of the Gatherings.
In December 2011 the International Indigenous Council for Healing Our Spirit Worldwide invited New Zealand to host The Seventh Gathering and Te Rau Matatini entered into a relationship with the International Indigenous Council to lead the hosting of this Gathering.
The purpose of The Seventh Gathering of Healing our Spirit Worldwide 2015 is for Indigenous peoples across the world to come together to share their strength, hope, and wisdom as they face community health, governance, and substance abuse issues. It provides a forum to discuss solutions and to connect and learn from other peoples to heal the spirit, heal the earth, and sustain cultural practices for the next generation.
Te Rau Matatini will also work with other Māori providers, local hapū and marae, Rangatahi, Kaumātua and community groups to ensure there is a high participation of these groups in the conference.
I was unclear of the meaning behind Mauri Ora and glad that the first speaker Sir Mason Durie who is a distant relative introduced the concept.
Here is a copy of his abstract:http://hosw.com/professor-sir-mason-durie
Mauri Ora is about flourishing – flourishing people, families, communities, and the environment. Mauri noho is the opposite – it is about languishing. The challenge is to enable all indigenous peoples to flourish. Making the shift will require moving beyond a search for the causes of adversity to a search for catalysts that can lead to mauri ora.
Enough is known about flourishing to identify a range of factors that foster wellness. Indigenous solutions for example are more likely to spell out success; indigenous leaders are more likely to inspire their own people; unleashing indigenous potential will enable whole populations to flourish; and actively shaping the future will offer opportunities for indigenous peoples to prosper while retaining culture and homelands.
It is postulated that an emphasis on wellness is more likely to generate indigenous enthusiasm than approaches that emphasise indigenous misfortune. The adversity approach runs the risk of generating a stereotype that becomes embedded as an inevitable destination. In contrast the search for precursors to flourishing is more aligned to positive aspirations and pathways to achieve them.