Marae Procedure (Kawa)



who was there?


the organisers


1 The Beginning of a Marae Hui

  • Normally the manuhiri wait at the gate entrance (tomokanga) of the marae with women and children flanked closely by the men. This indicates to tangata whenua that they are ready.
  • The tangata whenua group in front or at the side of the marae. As many as of the tangata whenua as possible should do this as an expression of their welcome.

2. Karanga (call)

Normally a woman from the host side calls first to indicate to the manuhiri to move forward on to the marae. This is normally answered by a woman's response from the manuhiri. It is a shrill high pitched call of welcome and acknowledgment. It can also be an identifying call from the manuhiri indicating where the group has come from. At a tangi where groups follow one another this becomes more crucial.

3 Manuhiri Movement

While the host will stand during the karanga, the manuhiri move forward to the puku (centre) of the marae (about 20-30 metres) in front of the meeting house. Before the welcome can proceed, the manuhiri must have the tapu (or alien element) in them removed by a tradition ritual.

4 Acknowledgment to those who have passed on

Once the manuhiri have approached some 20-30 metres in from of the wharenui, the pause and with the tangata whenua bow their heads for two or three minutes in remembrance. Immediately after, the tangata whenua will sit and at a given sign, the manuhiri move to take up the seats provided on the right hand side of the marae, with the speakers sitting in the front row seats.

5. Whaikorero procedure

There are two methods by which the speakers interact.

  • Tau utuutu - speakers alternate, with the tangata whenua beginning and finally ending after the speakers have alternated. The Waikato tribe including Ngati Raukawa use this method.
  • Paeke - All the tangata whenua speak and then all the manuhiri speak. The very last speaker is always the tangata whenua. This is normally the method used in the Ngapuhi, Tuhoe East Coast tribal areas. I both methods the tangata whenua will have the final say outlining the next movement and inviting the manuhiri to come forward and hongi. The hongi involves pressing noses together either once or twice.

6 Waikorero Format

While there are a specific variations there is a common pattern. The following is a pattern of a whaikorero of a visiting speaker. The host speaker follows the same format except that he rarely addresses the house buy emphasises a warm welcome.

  • Tauparapara - Introductory salutation, a chant, which can be for identification or an uplifting statement or a mood setting stature to arrest the listeners. It indicates a wish to speak,

    For example:
    Ka tangi te titi-The titi is calling
    Ka tangi te kaka-The kaka is calling
    Ka tangi hoki ko au-And I wish to call
    Tihe Mauriora-Behold there is life

  • Mihi to the marae, the house and those present - The marae and the house is personified to the extgent that the visiting speaker may connect himself with the hosts through their genealogy or through some common interest

    For example:
    Te whare e tu nei-The house standing here
    Te marae e takoto nei-The marae lying here
    Tena korua-Greetings to you all
    Nga hau e wha-People of the four winds
    Nga iwi e tau nei-People gathered here
    Tene koutou katoa-Greetings to you all

  • Mihi to the Dead (hunga mate) - In the mind of the Maori there is an inextricable intertwining of life and death - a continuous whole, a sequential movement in which the dead are remembered, greeted and mourned by the hunga ora (the living).

    For example
    Nga mate, nga aitua o koutou ara o matou- The dead the afflicted both yours and ours
    Ka tangihia e tatou i tenei wa- We lament for them at this time
    Haere, haere, haere-Farewell, farewell, farewell.

  • Te Take (The reason for gathering) - Mention is now made of the reason for the visit.

    For example:
    Karanga mai I a matou e whai nei I nga taonga o nga tupuna -Call (us) to seek the treasures of our forebears

  • Te Whakamutunga (The Conclusion) - The conclusion finishes with a song (a waiata). The mana of the speaker is always enhanced if his speech is backed by a suitable song or chant. Women and men may accompany a speaker in singing a waiata.

    A speaker may after the waiata finally summarise the greeting to all and indicate the next action.

    For example:
    No reira, ka piti hono tatai hono- Therefore the dead to the dead
    Te hunga mate ki te hunga mate- The living to the living
    Te hunga ora ki te hunga ora- Greeting and welcome to you all.
    Tena Koutou katao

7. Presenting a koha (money gifts)

Normally the last speaker on the manhiri side presents the koha, A koha is an amount of money collected from the manuhiri. It is money of love and respect to the tangata whenua for their impending hospitality. It is used to offset the costs of accommodation, foods, electricity, laundry expenses, breakages and an additional amount for any further development the local people may wish to make on the marae.

It is normally the prerogative of the manuhiri to decide how much to give and an assessment can be made on the basis of how much is costs to accommodate people per day for the number of days they are staying. It is also the obligation of the manuhiri to lay a koha down no matter how long the visitors remain even if it is for one or two hours, The moneyed society around the marae is not built on aroha and the marae requires financial support to maintain it.

Many schools have not appreciated these points and consequently local people have had to take from their own pockets to offset the costs. To increase the mana of the manuhiri it should be remembered that the assessment of the size of the koha should err on the liberal side.

The koha, in an envelope, is laid down in front of the manuhiri on the marae. Ensure that it has coins in it so it will not blow away. Do not put your prized mere down on it, as has been done, because you are presenting the mere as well to the marae.

A local person will pick it up. It is normally accompanied by a chant of gratitude.

8. The hongi

The tangata whenua then will indicate to the manuhiri to come in a certain direction, in line, to shake hands and to hongi. Generally the left hand is placed on each others shoulders and in the case of the Raukawa tribe for instance it is two presses of the nose, In other areas it is one nose press, eg Taitokerau. In any encounter situation the hongi brings all the senses into close contact - the touch, the sight, the hearing, the smell and even as a total whole the taste of human contact.

The formal welcome and reply protocol are over and the tapu has been removed form the outsider.

It is at this point and with the inevitable meal to follow that the tangata whenua and manuhiri merge as one and become the whanau (family) of the marae for the occasion. They are therefore addressed in the meeting house as the whanau and all that the word family implies especially in terms of interpersonal relationships. Even in welcoming newly arrived visitors thereafter they are considered as part of the tangata whenua and they assist in the welcoming of further arrivals.

It must be stressed, however, procedure on any marae is GOVERNED BY LOCAL MARAE OR TRIBAL KAWA.