The United Nations is usually considered a pretty buttoned up place with lots of posturing and three-piece suits. Not so much yesterday when a traditional Maori ceremony, a powhiri, marked the beginning of the tenure of the new leader of the United Nations Development Program, Helen Clark. Clark was the former prime minister of New Zealand, and this is the first time a woman will hold the third highest office in the UN.
The powhiri is a traditional Maori ceremony which takes place when manuhiri, or visitors, and tangata whenua, or people of the land, meet. Te Arikinui Kingi Tuheitia, the Maori King and Paramount Chief, led the Maori delegation, dressed in traditional garb, in presenting Clark to her new UN family.