The Masterton Licensing Trust appeared determined to embrace change on Tuesday, welcoming its first female trustees in nearly 30 years with its first ever formal powhiri.

Lucy Cruickshank and Mena Antonio were formally sung into the Horseshoe Restaurant in Masterton, accompanied by supporters and family.

Around 100 people attended, including MP for Wairarapa John Hayes and newly elected Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson.

Ms Cruickshank said it was "really special" to have a full powhiri.


"It's great to acknowledge some of the cultural protocols," she said.

She led in the singing of the waiata, Ka waiata kia maria, which describes women of grace and power.

Ms Antonio, who is of Tokelaean and Samoan descent, said the powhiri was "quite usual" in her circles.

She described the trust's ceremony as "starting with a bang".

Trustee Craig Cooper, who was elected president of the trust after the ceremony, said it was a "truly significant day in the history of the Masterton Licensing Trust".

"It's the first time we have ever had a powhiri. From this day forward, the photos of the Masterton Licensing Trust are going to look a lot more attractive."

He said the trust was operating in "interesting times" and things had moved on from the hospitality business that thrived around pubs 40 years ago. "The world is changing, and we must change with it. It's significant, that we are bringing in new blood, so we can bring new ideas, move with the future."