Amma NZ visits Ngā Kete Wānanga Marae

Amma New Zealand devotees (mostly nationals of India) had the privilege of being welcomed onto Ngā Kete Wānanga Marae in Otara, Auckland on Friday 8 November.

Secretary of Amma New Zealand, Patricia Wylie, (of Ngāi Tahu descent through her father, Albert Wylie, and Afghani descent through her mother, Florence Mahomet), organised for the rōpū to attend the opening evening of the Ngāi Tahu ki Tāmaki Makaurau annual Hui-ā-Tau. This year the kaupapa was Healthy Living.

For most of the group, it was the first time onto a marae and our first pōwhiri. Kaumātua Kukupa Tirikatene and the Ngāi Tahu ki Tāmaki Makaurau committee warmly welcomed us with much aroha and we were able to share the wairua of our two cultures.

Our senior disciple, Chandra Kurup was our speaker on the paepae and represented our Amma NZ group (registered as Mata Amritanandamayi Satsang Group Inc). It is a non-profit and charitable organisation founded to promote Sri Mata Amritanandamayi’s universal message of Aroha, in New Zealand. We regularly organise NZ fundraising programmes to support Amma’s humanitarian activities. Amma (meaning Mother) is a significant Indian spiritual leader, known throughout the world for her selfless love and compassion toward all beings. Her entire life has been dedicated to alleviating the pain of the poor, and those suffering physically and emotionally. Amma inspires, uplifts, and transforms through her embrace, her wisdom and through her charities, known as Embracing the World.® She has embraced and comforted more than 32 million people worldwide.

Chandra began by speaking in his mother tongue Malayalam. He then translated into English so that all understood the content of his address. For our waiata, following Chandra’s address, we sang a bhajan (devotional song) called “Om Namaha Shivaya” meaning “I bow down to everything that is good and to whom-so-ever is doing it”.

After the pōwhiri, we were welcomed with the hongi, which was enjoyed by all of our devotees – a very new experience. Then followed a warm connection time between my Ngāi Tahu family and my Indian family, as we waited for dinner. Also during this time, Kukupa gave a blessing on our taonga (our banner “Invite Amma to Aotearoa NZ”).

Our spiritual leader has never visited Aotearoa before and we are all dedicated to bringing her here so that she can offer her blessing (darshan) to the people of Aotearoa.

Around 8pm a delicious dinner was served in the wharekai. That gave us more time to connect with our new friends over kai. Usually our women do all the cooking for our events, so it was wonderful to be able to sit down and receive from our hosts. Following kai, we returned to the wharenui for a very enlightening talk from Kukupa on the meaning and symbolism of some of the pou (carvings) in the beautiful Ngā Kete whare.

Lastly we engaged in whakawhanaungatanga and then to complete Amma NZ’s presence at the hui, we sang a bhajan “Jai Jai Ma” for everyone there. Then pomarie – sleep-time for those staying and all the Amma NZ folk headed home. Small steps….perhaps next year we will sleep over in the whare.

Thank you to my Ngāi Tahu whānau in Auckland. Tihei mauri ora – celebrate the breath of life that we share.
If you would like to know more about Amma NZ, check our website www.amma.org.nz
Nā Patricia Wylie.

Manuhiri gather in the wharenui.

Manuhiri gather in the wharenui.

Kukupa Tirikatene welcoming our manuhiri.

Kukupa Tirikatene welcoming our manuhiri.

Welcoming our guests.

Welcoming our guests.

Kai time!

Kai time!