Friday 21 October 2022, 08:00

Māori welcome greets FIFA Women’s World Cup

  • Pōwhiri takes place in Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau to celebrate the FIFA Women’s World Cup

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses local and international audience in Māori

  • Representatives from competing teams from all over the world were in attendance

The world of football received an official Māori welcome as a pōwhiri (ceremony) greeted the arrival of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ trophy to Aotearoa / New Zealand on the eve of the finals draw for next year’s tournament.

“It is our privilege to welcome FIFA President Gianni Infantino together with representatives of global football to our home,” said Ngarimu Blair, Deputy Chair of the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust, during the initial formal speech, the whaikōrero. “We welcome you to our home that carries the memories of our ancestors, and we welcome you upon these tribal lands.”

The FIFA President, who participated in the tohu (token) and observed the karanga (welcome call), then delivered his speech to the assembled manuhiri (visitors) including FIFA Council members and representatives from the competing teams involved in tomorrow’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & Aotearoa / New Zealand 2023 finals draw.

Delivering the opening of his speech in Māori, the FIFA President’s words translated as follows: “The cry of the tītī, the cry of the kākā, tis mine also, bless this occasion, to the people with authority over this land, Ngāti Whātua, I give you all thanks, and here is a whakataukī (proverb) for us all: it is important for us to weave people together.”

“I would like to express my gratitude to you all for such a beautiful welcome to your most precious land, Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud,” he said, reverting to English, and addressing the New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson, other government representatives and the mayors of the local host cities.

“This is an important gathering that represents the world. Our mission is to move beyond greatness by bringing women’s football to a global audience of billions. There has been immense recent growth our sport, and we are about to take the next step by having 32 teams playing 64 matches and we are uniting two football confederations in hosting this tournament in the process. This will be the best FIFA Women’s World Cup ever.”

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup will give inspiration to youngsters as it plants a seed of ambition, and this is the unique power of football, and it will be our legacy,” the FIFA President added. “This is a spectacle for everyone, and I count on your active support: attend matches or volunteer and be part of moving our sport beyond greatness.”

Reverting to Māori, he concluded: “Therefore, to all here, greetings.”

The FIFA President then offered a koha (gift), before the ceremony ended with the hongi (pressing of noses greeting) and kai (the sharing of food).