As a formal welcome, the powhiri is the opening ceremony designed to allow both manuhiri (visitors) and tangata whenua (people of the land) to become accustomed with each other and the purpose of the visit to the marae. Culturally the powhiri protects both manuhiri and tangata whenua during the time spent on the marae. It is important for each individual to participate in the formal process of coming onto marae. Arrive early, be on time!
Karanga – call of welcome
This is performed by our women. When the karanga is heard, it is a signal to move forward to the centre of the area of welcome. There will be a short pause at the halfway mark, to remember those of our family and friends whom have passed on. There will be a response to the call of welcome from the visitors.
You will then be shown to the seating. It is important to note that only men are to be seated in the front seats. There will be an explanation of why this is, before we are welcomed.
Whaikorero – speeches
The protocol is Tu mai – Tu atu. Tu mai- Tu atu means one for one. This means that the home people will open the speeches, followed by a visitor, and then finished by a home speaker. It is important to note that the whaikorero – speech making is the domain of the men. Each speech is followed by a waiata – song.
Once the speeches have concluded, next comes Hongi – pressing of the nose with the home people. It basically signals the sharing of spirit.
Once the hongi has finished, we will go for a kai – a meal, in other words, break bread together.