Welcome to Country & Pōwhiri

Event Details

Sunday 27th November 
Waipapa Marae, 16 Wynyard Street, University of Auckland
Protocols commence at 3.30pm with pōwhiri from 4.00pm

This event is included in full and student registrations and attendance was requested at time of registering. Additional whanau by koha at marae, please contact Claudia.bell@auckland.ac.nz to confirm attendance.

Attending a pōwhiri (pōhiri)

The pōwhiri (pōhiri) is the traditional Māori process of introducing and welcoming manuhiri (visitors) onto a marae (meeting place), while maintaining the integrity and esteem of both the manuhiri and tangata whenua.


protocolsThe Karanga (The Calling)

Gather as a group at the gateway to the marae preparing to go onto the marae. Women gather in the front of the group, men following closely behind. The karanga is done by Kuia and is a signal for the group to start moving on to the marae. A woman from the visitors’ side may karanga in response to the Kuia from the marae as you move slowly and respectfully forward. When you reach the veranda to the wharenui, remove your shoes before entering the whare.
At this point take your cue from the Kuia of the marae. The Kuia will indicate for you to be seated on mattresses or seats provided. If she indicates to you to move to the seats, women take up the seats – but not the front seat. If there
are insufficient seats to take all, some of the group you may need to sit on the carpet beyond the seats.

karangaThe front seat is left for the men who will be involved in speech making. Even those men who do not speak will take up places on the front row. The speakers will sit closer to the door on the front seat so it is clear who the speakers are.

The Whaikorero (The Speeches)
The people from the marae (home side) will start usually with karakia (prayer) and a himene (hymn) that everyone joins in. Then the speakers for the home side make their speeches, one after the other. When they have run through their speakers, they will indicate to the visiting speakers that it is their turn to respond. Manuhiri/visiting speakers follow, one after the other. When the visiting side has run through their speakers, the home side will then close proceedings with their final speaker finishing this part of the ceremony off.

It is traditional to support each speaker with a waiata (song). It is likely that the visiting group will have one to two speakers. Please be prepared to sing after each of the speakers finishes.

Koha (A gift/donation)
Generally an envelope of money is laid on the ground by the last speaker for the manuhiri (visitors). A local kuia (female elder) may karanga as an expression of thanks. A male from the tangata whenua will pick up the koha.

hongiThe Hariru (The Hongi)
Once the home side closes off the speeches, the first few rows should stand and move to hariru (shake hands) and hongi (the pressing of the forehead and nose). Men normally lead this process and the women follow. Occasionally if there is a very big group involved, the kaumātua (male elder) will indicate that the hariru will take place between the home people and the front row of the newcomers or a limited number of the newcomers. Be guided by the kaumātua on this.

Tapu and Noa – Sacred and Non-sacred areas
The pōwhiri concludes with the sharing of kai or food, called hakari. The food removes the tapu or sacredness from the manuhiri, so that the two sides may complete the coming together. As in all cultures the sharing of food also signifies a binding together.
The Marae has areas that are considered to be tapu (sacred) and noa (non-sacred). In Māori culture, tapu areas should be respected and are kept separate from non-sacred activities including eating, drinking, smoking and/or behaviour that would not be suitable within a sacred area (such as a church/graveyard etc.). Thus, the marae has very separate areas for tapu activity (Wharenui, Marae Ātea) and noa activity (Wharekai/Toilets).

General guidelines to follow

building-resilience_auckland-2016_day-1-daytime-3_resizeThe following outlines some general rules that you are expected to follow while being at the marae.

The ātea (in front of the Marae) is a place of many functions. Prior to the pōwhiri, you should not walk onto the Marae complex, including the Marae ātea. This is because you are waewae tapu (scared legs). Even if you have been to Waipapa before, this is the first time you would have been there for this kaupapa (purpose).

The ātea is used for pōwhiri, an area for gathering and learning, general activity, but is not a place for rowdy activity.

  • Do not eat, drink or smoke in the ātea area
  • Do not sit on the carvings in front of the Wharenui

In the Wharenui (meeting house):

  • No eating, drinking or running in the Wharenui
  • No sitting on pillows in the Wharenui (as the head is also considered to be tapu in
    Māori culture)
  • Please remove your shoes before entering the Wharenui

Pōwhiri Attire: 

Respectable dress