The bellowing karakia was swept through the air by the vigorous breeze at the National War Memorial, as dignitaries gathered on a crisp morning for the unveiling.
Beneath a grey sky painted by swirling clouds, they stepped forward one-by-one to a hole in the ground, clasping rocks from their respective countries - Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Niue Solomon Islands, among others - to drop inside.
Above the hole will soon be the Pacific Islands memorial at Pukeahu, New Zealand's National War Memorial in Wellington.
At the ceremony they gathered before a small table draped in a blue linen cloth, to see the chosen design unveiled.
And with a tug it was revealed: Te Reo Hotunui o Te Moana nui a Kiwa, or, The Deep Sigh of the Pacific.
It will be an engraved four-metre-tall bronze conch shell that will sit on one of the grass terraces that tumble down the hill from the towering carillion at the park's centre.
The park sits above State Highway One, on which traffic crawls through the Arras Tunnel - named after the tunnels from the First World War in France.
"That tunnel down here, Arras - it's connected to that," said the memorial's designer, Wellington-based artist Michel Tuffery.
"One of the soldiers had left a conch inside Arras, in the tunnel there, so I went on a mission to look for it."
"So I thought it was quite appropriate because it's a universal symbol that we use right through the Pacific, so it just made sense."
The conch shell would stand four-and-a-half metres tall, and would be intricately engraved, Mr Tuffery said.
"Having the maire, or 'ei, strung around it just to celebrate our now. Then we've got poppies with shells - the actual shells from the artillery. There's a whole lot of symbolism."
Mr Tuffery's design was selected from 19 entries by a panel of five people, chaired by Niue's High Commissioner to New Zealand Fisa Pihigia.
Mr Pihigia said selecting the winner was hard, because unlike the other memorials at Pukeahu - Britain, Australia, France, the United States, Turkey and others - the Pacific one had to represent and entire region.
"We are all different in our own identities, and to come up with one design that represents the whole Pacific is not easy," he said.
"But the conch shell, it reflects the Pacific in a way that we use the conch shell to call our peoples to come together. It's like our last post, you know, when someone blows the bugle."
Hundreds of Pacific people from the farthest flung islands and atolls fought in World War I a century ago, as New Zealand and Britain looked to the territories for reinforcements.
Many of them spoke no English, and they weren't accustomed with military uniform, according to historical records. The heavy, narrow boots were said to be particularly troublesome.
They were then sent to the other side of the world to fight the empire's war, where many of them came face-to-face with European winters and diseases for the first time, often to devastating effect.
Carmel Sepuloni, New Zealand's associate minister for culture and heritage, said the contribution of Pacific Islanders to the World War I was often overlooked.
"It's important because it serves as a reminder of the fact that Pacific soldiers fought alongside New Zealand soldiers, and lives were lost," said Ms Sepuloni.
"And for many New Zealanders and Pacific peoples like myself even, it's not something that's commonly known. But I want, you know, other Pacific children growing up in this country to have a very clear and vivid picture of what our history is."
Mr Tuffery hoped the memorial would help do just that.
"We've got the memorial space for our people, finally. That void that was missing in the memorial services. That's a huge history that we don't know about."
With the mauri stones from around the region now buried in Pukeahu's manicured lawn, construction of the sculpture will take place over summer.
It's hoped to be open by Anzac Day, in April next year.