Whakatau ki te Kura o te Roto a Rangi 

Welcome to Balmoral School 

At the start of each term, the school holds a whakatau which is a traditional Māori welcome, which literally means to settle. This ceremony is our way of welcoming new students and staff, along with their families, into the Balmoral School community. You are very welcome to bring extended family plus anyone who is important to your child as they begin their learning journey at Balmoral. You will receive an invitation to the whakatau nearest to your child’s start date.  

 What to expect at the whakatau:  

  • The manuhiri (visitors) will gather together outside the hall then someone will lead you into the whakatau  
  • The tangata whenua (hosts) will be seated facing the manuhiri (visitors) to welcome you.   
  • mihi (welcome speech) will be made by a representative of the school. Then the children and staff will stand and sing a waiata (song) to support the speaker’s message. (There may be other speakers, a waiata will follow each speech. Children and Staff will sit down.)  
  • A representative from the manuhiri (visitors) will respond, then the group will stand and sing to support the speaker, a waiata. The group will sit down.   
  • The last speaker will then be from the school.    
  • Hariru – the hosts and new families involved will shake hands, hongi (nose to nose) or kiss. 
  • Balmoral School will offer a simple morning tea or kai for everyone to share. This concludes the whakatau and signifies the coming together of the visitors and the Balmoral community. 

Tikanga – whakatau (Customs or Procedures) 

After consultation with our school wide community, including staff, parents and the Board of Trustees, as well as consultation with local Kaumatua, we have developed our own school tikanga (customs or procedures) for our school whakatau, to reflect the visions and values of our school.

  • Men and women are allowed to speak – this is both for the Tangata Whenua and the Manuhuri. The Principal will open the whakatau with a formal mihi. 
  • Speakers are welcome to speak in any language they feel comfortable with, however, a greeting in Te Reo Māori is encouraged. 
  • Men and women can sit in the front row – speakers should sit in the front row  
  • To recognise the Māori world view and respect the mana, members of the SLT, whānau leaders and the Tikanga team sit on the front row. 
  • If on the front row, you will be asked to take part in the Hariru, you can choose whether to hongi, handshake or kiss on the cheek. 
  • Student leaders and representatives from the Primary and Intermediate will be invited to sit on chairs with the teachers as Tangata Whenua. 
  • A haka pōwhiri, welcoming chant, may be performed by staff and students 
  • We do not have karanga, ceremonial call, at our whakatau. Karanga is traditionally viewed as a connection between the living and spiritual worlds, the karanga is steeped in tikanga and epitomises the mana wahine — the power of women within the marae. It is a spiritual call that has been heard through generations of whānau across the country and is usually used at a Pōwhiri, not a whaktau. As part of our whānau consultation, the local Kaumatua and whānau, felt that it was not appropriate for girls of Primary school age to be asked to karanga. It is also something that would require specialist teaching and this is not something we are currently able to offer at school.  
  • Manuhuri are invited to stay for a cup of tea, coffee or drink and a bite to eat to remove the tapu, sacredness from the ceremony. A karakia kai will be recited before manuhiri are invited to eat.