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:
- The manuhiri gather outside the marae entrance or in a designated area.
- 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.
- You will hear the karanga (welcome call) from a woman from the tangata whenua. The manuhiri begin to advance and return the karanga.
- 0nce the manuhiri are seated (men in the front), the whaikōrero (speeches) take place.
- After each whaikōrero, a waiata (song) is sung.
- Sometimes a koha (a monetary gift) is given by the visitors. The last speaker should lay this on the ground for collection.
- 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.
- 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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