The Manihiki and Rakahanga communities also performed Te Pora, a traditional welcome laying down woven kikau mats, for the arrival of the Prime Minister and his wife Akaiti.
Puna recognised the warm reception as he stepped onto the marae.
“What is leadership? Leadership is service – ‘tavini’,” he said.
“We are here to serve our people.”
In his address, Puna acknowledged the Covid-19 situation and the effects on the economy, but said at this time the environment is taking a breather.
“People forget that when we were first warned of the pandemic, we the government were very quick to move into action and take precautionary measures to keep the virus out - we move fast,” he said.
Te Marae Ora has the advice and expertise, “and we trust them.”, he said.
“These days we cannot afford to move on our emotions, because we will make mistakes,” he said.
“Trust us, we are doing the right thing by our people and by our country and we will always continue to do that.”
Stepping down as the leader of the country next month, Puna said he believes it is correct not to hold onto positions for as long as one can or until you die.
“So, it’s time to move on, time to pass on the baton to the young ones,” he said.
“I have fought the good fight, I have run the race and I have kept the faith.”