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Indigenous Communities

The uniqueness of PQDTS is that it is mobile and is based amidst indigenous communities. We move from one location to another every 2 weeks or so. The word Marae is a word you will get use to as the Marae (or in general a tradition place of gathering for Maori) is where we will be based.


Below is an outline of Marae protocol.


Kawa is the word used to describe the protocol or sequence of events which occur on the Marae. Each Iwi (tribe) have their own distinctive Kawa Protocol. In Tauranga, the three dominant Iwi have a shared kawa called Tau-utu-utu. Essentially this means that tangata Whenua ( have the first and last opportunity to speak, for example after the Karanga calll when everyone is seated a kaumatua from the host side will begin speeches, followed by a visiting kaumatua Esteemed elder/Speaker alternating between Tangata Whenua Hosts and Manuhiri Until completed by Tangata Whenua.

The Marae Visit from Start to Finish

The welcoming ceremony onto the marae is called the powhiri. All of the stages in the kawa sequence (procedures) are described below. However not all of the stages will necessarily be performed at a Hui.


Upon arriving at the Marae your group should assemble at the main gate. This will indicate to the  tangata whenua (home crowd) that you are ready to proceed onto the Marae. The Karanga is your cue to begin walking onto the Marae.


Manuhiri. Guests or visitor

When visiting a Ngaiterangi Marae (this refers to a specific tribe) it is protocol for women to always walk in front of the men when being welcomed on to the Marae. The women usually advance in one main body with men following from behind. When any new group visits a Marae they are considered to be Waewae tapu  sacred it is only after the hongi (traditional Maori Greeting), handshake and meal that visitors are Considered to be noa, free of tapu.


Te Powhiri. The Welcome.

After assembling at the main gate the Karanga Call is the main means of ushering Manuhiri onto the Marae. The Karanga is usually performed by a Kuia Elder (older Woman) although there have been exceptions , such as when a young women performs this function.

The first voice heard on the marae is that of the women. It takes the form of a shrill or high-pitched call that carries for great distances. There is no restriction on the length of breadth of the karanga.  

Traditionally the Karanga was used to negate the effects of tapu sacredness. It is also traditional for women on the visiting side to respond with a Karanga as the visiting group proceeds onto the Marae, although this is not necessary if a kuia is not among the visitors.


Halfway to the Wharenui it is traditional for Manuhiri to stand and bow their heads for a time. This is a symbol of respect to the Wharenui Meeting House and ancestors who have passed on. Following this, Manuhiri are offered seats and the formal speech making commences.

Te Whaikorero. Speeches.

The speeches or Whaikorero begin with a kaumatua from the host side standing to speak; at it's conclusion it is traditional for those on the Paepae tapu Sacred Beam or host side to stand and sing a song in support of their speaker. Following which time a person on the visiting side is given the opportunity to talk.

These are the speeches of welcome. As the tangata-whenua and manuhiri take up their seats the kai-korero (speakers) set themselves at the front of their respective groups on the paepae (speaking bench)

 (Traditionally the front row of seats on both the host and visitor side are reserved for the respective speechmakers or orators.)


The korero or speechmaking then alternates from one side to the other until finishing on the host side. The koha or gift from the visiting group is laid down by their last speaker.

This role is undertaken by the men on the marae of the local iwi, as is the case throughout most of the country except in some parts of the East Coast and Northland.  

At the end of each whaikorero a waiata (traditional song) is sung. This is to complement the words of the whaikorero and an opportunity for the speaker’s group to show their support.

Hariru and Hongi. Greeting.

At the conclusion of the speeches, the manuhiri rise to greet the Tangata Whenua Hosts. This entails the main body of men on the visiting side forming a single line and advancing to meet the kaumatua on the host side. Women form a line at the rear of the men. The traditional greeting is the pressing of noses twice. This is achieved by the touching of foreheads, noses, shaking hands and sharing of breath
. This tradition goes back to the beginning of time and symbolises where God first blew the breath of life in the first human being. 

Kai. Food

The final act of the powhiri is the partaking of food. The Hongi and the food remove the tapu that came upon the visitors at the start of the powhiri. It is an opportunity also for the tangata-whenua to express their manaakitanga (hospitality) to the visitors. The provision of manaakitanga is very important as its extent can be enhancing or diminishing of the mana (respect/honor) of the tangata-whenua.


There are a number of rules of a general nature governing conduct on, in, and around the various areas of the marae. These rules may or may not be enforced by the tangata-whenua but it is better that you attempt to follow these rules


Maori – Indigenous people of New Zealand
Kawa – Protocol
Iwi – Tribe
Tangata Whenua – Host people
Karanga – call
Kaumatua – elder
Manuhiri – visitors
Powhiri – Welcome ceremony
Hongi – Traditional Maori greeting
Tapu – Sacred/holy
Mana – Respect, honor


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