Every Māori person has a base where they belong - this is their tūrangawaewae (standing place). The marae (sacred meeting place) is where you find your history, your geneology, your place of standing and keep tikanga (customs) and traditions alive.

Karakia (prayer) is an important part of Māori culture and used to begin and end gatherings, and to bless meals.

Tips

  • Dress respectfully. Long skirts are preferable for women.
  • Smoking during pōwhiri (welcome) and inside marae buildings is not allowed.
  • Remove your shoes when entering a wharenui (ancestral meeting house).
  • Do not walk in front of speakers, go around instead, or wait.
  • In the wharekai (dining hall), lend a hand with dishes and cooking, and do not sit on tables or kitchen benches as these surfaces are for food.
  • When arranging a visit to a marae, preparation is important. Find out the local kawa (protocols), organise your kaikaranga (women caller), kaikōrero (speech makers - male, unless advised otherwise), and waiata (songs) to support speech makers.
  • Koha (a monetary gift) is not given at business meetings, but a gift exchange is appropriate, especially with Asian cultures. This can be done as guests depart.

Visiting a marae is a wonderful and unique experience. Be prepared and you will enjoy the experience immensely.

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