Marae


The Marae is a meeting place where you can discuss problems or debate what you have on your mind, and is considered by Maori as a turangawaewae (which is a standing place, a place of belonging). In the Marae it is/you can feel the space of mana, and spirituality. It is where Maori customs are given ultimate expression. Also you can celebrate different functions such as weddings, christenings as well as tribal reunion and funerals. Through this essay I will be explaining some values to the Marae powhiri, aroha, karakia, turangawaewae, whanaugatanga, manaakitanga,

The powhiri (pohiri) is the welcoming ceremony on a Marae. A powhiri is a step by step process of removing the tapu of the visitors and making them one of the tangata whenua. The powhiri usually begins with the karanga a call of welcome. The start of the karanga indicated to the manuhiri that they are free to move onto the marae atea. The kaikaranga from both sides call to each other as they begin to start the intent and the purpose of the visit. The kaikaranga weave the two groups (hosts and manuhiri) together through their voices. Aroha is branched from manaakitanga.

Aroha can mean respect, concern, hospitality and the process of giving. It can be shown in many different ways. In the way that tangata whenua volunteer to provide, with the manuhiri becoming a part of the tangata whenua, sharing the duties of the day and also relating to one another/people whom surround you. Karakia on the marae is directed each morning and evening; the prayers are said for guidance, care and protection. People have privileges and obligations to a certain place because of their links through their parents and their ancestors.

Your turangawaewae gives you a home base on a marae. It gives you the right to speak as tangata whenua on that marae. Doing this would create an obligation to listen on the part of those who are seated. Whanaungatanga means kinship ties. People who belong to a particular marae trace their whakapapa to that marae and to the ancestors it represents. They have the right to stand and speak, and the obligation to look after and maintain the marae and uphold its mana. Whanaungatanga is extended to include manuhiri when they stay on a marae.

This is demonstrated when a person addresses everyone who is staying on a marae as family when they say “Kia ora e te whanau” (Greetings, family). Manaakitanga means to “care for a person’s mana” (well-being, in a holistic sense). On a marae, it is often claimed that it is not what is said that matters but how people are looked after. This is the essence of manaakitanga. Manaakitanga also includes the respect we give to elders. Our elders are responsible for the manaakitanga (care) of the entire group connected to a marae. The manaakitanga they give is based on their knowledge, life experience, and wisdom.

Outside, in front of the whare and at it’s top is a “tekoteko”, or carved figure, which is placed on the roof and at the entrance to the whare. It represents the ancestor’s head. The “maihi”, or carved parts of the tekoteko which slope downwards from the whare, represent the ancestor’s arms, held out as a welcome to visitors. The pole that runs down the centre of the whare from front to back, represents the ancestor’s backbone. This is a very solid piece of wood which is used, as when the backbone is strong, the body is strong.

The rafters from the carved figures on the inside of the whare represent the ribs of the ancestor. The smaller and larger “Koruru” carvings may be seen on the outside of the whare. The protruding tongue often seen is in defiance of the enemy, and is also a defiant gesture during the haka (war dance). tahuhu, represent connection between Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother. While there are other interpretations it follows appropriately that meeting houses are named after a tupuna. The marae is a very sacred, spiritual and safe place for the iwi and hapu.

It is there place where they know they belong to within their whanau. A place of respect and humbling yourself. We should learn and acknowledge the stories and meaning behind the values of the marae. It is important to Maori and should not be trampled on. There is so much that I have learnt from researching the values of the marae and should continue to learn and grow the values within me and when I go to somebodies marae. From what I have read this is truly more then just important, but recognizing the feeling within.