A list of common Māori terms you will hear at Otamatea Marae are given below along with the English translation.


To shake hands, hongi or kiss.


A traditional Māori greeting where noses are pressed or touched together.

Hau kāinga

The home people or hosts of Otamatea Marae.


Formal and informal gathering of people for various occasions including meetings, tangihanga, weddings and christenings.

Hura kōhatu (unveiling)

A ceremony held at the graveside where the headstone is unveiled or revealed.  Find out about holding unveiling at Otamatea.


A call performed by women signalling the start of the pōwhiri.


The women who perform the karanga.


Prayer or blessing. Karakia is an important part of Māori custom and is delivered on almost all occasions including opening and closing of meetings.


An elderly man or women- a person of status within the whānau.


Protocol of the marae. Determines how things are done in various  circumstances. Respect for kawa is very important. If you are unsure of the kawa at Otamatea, please feel free to ask our hau kainga. For example; the kawa when doing whaikōrero at Otamatea is pāeke. Find out about the kawa at Otamatea.

Kawe mate

A memorial service where the memory of the deceased is carried in the form of a photo to the marae of significance during the pōwhiri. Find out about bringing a kawe mate to Otamatea.


A gift, usually money but not always.


Female elders.


Visitor or guest.


Place of gathering for Māori people for formal and informal occasions. A marae links present, past and future generations.

Marae ātea

It is the area in front of the wharenui which visitors cross during the pōwhiri.


A formal ceremony of welcome.

Tangata whenua

People born of the land.


A funeral or ceremony of rites for a deceased person. It is the most revered ceremonies for Māori people. During this time people come to pay their respect to the tūpāpaku and their loved ones. Find out about bringing your loved one to Otamatea.


The place immediately inside the wharenui where the kaikaranga and speakers sit.


Deceased person. The deceased are accorded high levels of respect during tangihanga.

Whare kai

The dining room and cooking facilities. The whare kai at Otamatea Marae is Te Puna Ora.

Whare karakia

Church building or place of prayers and blessings. The whare karakia at Otamatea Marae is Kakaraea.

Waharoa or Tomokanga

The shelter at the entrance to Otamatea Marae where manuhiri gather before the pōwhiri.

Whare nui

The meeting house where gatherings are held and where manuhiri are accommodated.

Whare paku or whare iti

The ablution or toilet and shower block.


In general Māori terms it is a family grouping beyond that of immediate family members – the extended family.  For Otamatea Marae whānau refers to all people who have genealogical ties to the Marae.