The Maori call it upoko runaka, the farewell for the dead. In Christchurch yesterday, they said, it was also much more: a ritual to heal a broken city, and to reconnect its people with the earth that has so hurt them.
It began with local tribal chief Maurice Gray, in a black suit and holding a tokotoko, a staff carved with his family's history that is symbolic of his authority as an elder.
He strode into an intersection lined with dignitaries and emergency workers and brandished the tokotoko at a small pile of broken masonry collected from shattered buildings in the heart of the city.
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