Holding the carved tokotoko (walking stick) that is the mark of an orator, Rua Cooper of Tainui leads the opening ceremony for a new house for intellectually handicapped people in Māngere, South Auckland, in 1991. A koroua (male elder) such as Cooper is frequently called upon by his local community for his expertise in whaikōrero (speechmaking), tikanga (traditional custom) and Māori language. These social expectations signify the great respect and status accorded to the elderly in Māori society.
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