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30 SCOOP IMAGES: Hillary Clinton’s first powhiri

Scoop photo essay by Alastair Thompson


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At 12.30pm with the skies looking threatening, the media is briefed outside Parliament Buildings, while police search the planters for bombs.


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The security liason officer from the US contingent seems happy as the Kapa Haka party rehearses.


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By 2pm a crowd has gathered in front of Parliament to greet the visitor from the USA.


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The guest of honour arrives with a formidable security detachment – she waves to the crowd – who cheer in return.


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The US Secretary of State is greeted by Parliament’s Kuia


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And is welcomed with her first hongi of the afternoon.


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With her new friend she walks forward to meet Parliament’s Kaumatua…


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… and is again greeted by hongi.


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She then prepares to face her challenge.


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The challenge Wero begins as the Taki (challenge dart) is laid down for the honoured guest.


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The Taki must be accepted by a male and in this case by by the US Ambassador to New Zealand on behalf of his boss. This is the traditional way of determining whether visitors to a Marae came in peace or with hostile intentions.


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The wero continues as the warriors advance towards Mrs Clinton and her escorts.


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The conch shell is sounded.


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The Secretary and her party advance towards the warriors…


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… who are fully engaged in their haka.


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The Wero (challenge) comes to an end as Hillary Clinton finally reaches the rows of Maori Warriors.


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Madam Secretary is again greeted in a hongi.


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The wahine move to the front of the Kapa Haka party….


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Mrs Clinton crosses the forecourt towards her host for the day, Speaker of the New Zealand Parliament Lockwood Smith.


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… who re-introduces her to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (they met earlier in the year in Vietnam).


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Then she shakes hands with Foreign Minister Murray McCully (who met her this morning at Wellington airport).

After ascending the steps, she acknowledges the crowd again with a wave – the crowd responds again with a cheer.


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Rarely have so many broad smiles been seen in 20 short minutes.


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And now its time to get down to some diplomacy.

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