Customs & protocols

Our customs and protocols

Each marae has its own kawa and we provide information below to help you understand our kawa.  For a list of common Māori terms you will hear at Otamatea Marae visit our glossary page.

The pōwhiri is the ceremony of welcome and is always conducted for visitors to Otamatea Marae.  It symbolises the coming together of two groups of people:  manuhiri or visitors and hau kainga or hosts.  Once the pōwhiri has finished, manuhiri and hau kainga are symbolically one.

Other protocols apply depending on the hui such as for tangi, hura kōhatu and kawe mate.  However pōwhiri apply to all hui involving manuhiri.

Otamatea Marae welcome

Our pōwhiri or welcome features a call, prayers, speeches, songs and the shaking of hands. The order of speaking is paeke which means hau kainga speak before manuhiri.

The appropriate dress code for manuhiri and hau kainga is long dark skirts (women) and long dark trousers (men).

When you first arrive at Otamatea Marae you must gather outside the gates, in or near the waharoa or gateway shelter.

The call on to Otamatea Marae

Manuhiri must wait for the karanga or call from the kaikaranga, our women who call you on. Upon hearing the call, your group should move forward in silence towards Aotearoa, our wharenui.

When you are on the mahau or verandah, you must remove your footwear before you enter the wharenui.

Once inside the wharenui, you will be guided by our kaikaranga where a moment of silence is taken to acknowledge our tupuna or ancestors.

Kaikaranga will guide you to hariru or shake hands with the hau kainga.  You will then be seated on the right side of the wharenui.

Prayers and speeches

The taumata or elders will begin with whakamoemiti  or prayers and mihimihi, the welcoming speech.

Once the taumata have finished speaking, manuhiri may speak.  Speaking in te reo Māori –  our own language-  is preferred and appreciated even if very limited.

A waiata or song  is sung by your group after each of your speakers has finished.

If your group wishes to leave a koha your last speaker presents it.

End of pōwhiri

To complete the pōwhiri, you will be invited for light refreshments in Te Puna Ora, our wharekai.

You may bring in your luggage and bedding after the pōwhiri.