Mary J. Blige greeted with a powhiri at New Zealand airport

February 4, 2011
The stars of Raggamuffin have been welcomed to the city in true Rotorua style - with a powhiri.

Raggamuffin 2011 is on at Rotorua International Stadium today. This year, organisers expect 30,000 people at the event which features international artists Mary J Blige, Jimmy Cliff, Maxi Priest, The Original Wailers and Ky-Mani Marley. Kiwi acts include Che Fu and The Krates, Nesian Mystik, 1814 and Sons of Zion.

The international performers arrived at a central city hotel yesterday afternoon. They arrived in three main groups and each group was welcomed with a powhiri.

After being welcomed, each group sang as a way to thank locals for their welcome.

As the groups were welcomed several people got out cellphones and recorded the powhiri. Hotel guests and staff stopped what they were doing to watch and fans came in off the street to snap a glimpse of the celebrities on their cellphones.

Marley said it was an honour to receive such a warm welcome.

"It was great to be welcomed like that."

The group with Marley sang an impromptu version of Three Little Birds.

After being welcomed Marley stayed in the foyer of the hotel and talked to fans and posed for photos.
Te Kahuirangi Webster was one of the performers involved in the powhiri and said it was an awesome experience welcoming the stars of Raggamuffin to Rotorua.

"It was pretty exciting," he said.

"It's the first time I have performed for famous people.

"I was a bit nervous but it was such an honour."

He said he would be at Raggamuffin today.

"Of course I'll be there - It is going to be amazing."



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