Pōwhiri (a welcome ceremony) is the custom of welcoming and hosting manuhiri (visitors). Even when you are not on a marae (sacred meeting place), for example in an office space, outside, or other venues, protocols guide how pōwhiri should be conducted.

Basic pōwhiri include the following steps:

  1. The manuhiri gather outside the marae entrance or in a designated area.
  2. The wero (challenge) may be issued by a young male warrior from the tangata whenua (local people). This is to test whether manuhiri come in peace or war.
  3. You will hear the karanga (welcome call) from a woman from the tangata whenua. The manuhiri begin to advance and return the karanga.
  4. 0nce the manuhiri are seated (men in the front), the whaikōrero (speeches) take place.
  5. After each whaikōrero, a waiata (song) is sung.
  6. Sometimes a koha (a monetary gift) is given by the visitors. The last speaker should lay this on the ground for collection.
  7. 0nce whaikōrero and waiata are completed, the tangata whenua and manuhiri come together to hariru (shake hands) and hongi (press noses). The hongi is a sign of peace, life and well-being, and the coming together of two people.
  8. A hākari (meal) is then shared. This signifies the end of the pōwhiri and the sacred part of the ceremony.

Marae - Sacred meeting place

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