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Tikanga – Protocol for going onto Marae. 2011. 6 Key Steps of a Basic Pōwhiri Karanga Whaikōrero W aiata Koha Hongi Hākari.

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Tikanga – Protocol for going onto Marae

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tikanga overview
6 Key Steps of a Basic Pōwhiri







A traditional Māori welcome on to a marae is called a pōwhiri (or pōhiri). Marae are not the only places where pōwhiri take place - nowadays pōwhiri can happen anywhere that hosts (tangata whenua) need to formally greet a group of visitors (manuhiri).

Tikanga Overview
te reo m ori
Te Reo Māori
  • Māori is usually the language used during pōwhiri. While the parts of a pōwhiri may vary according to the occasion and the tribal area, Māori language remains a key feature. The basic process of pōwhiri involves the following six steps:
  • Karanga may be described as a unique form of female oratory in which women bring a range of imagery and cultural expression to the first articulation of Māori language in the pōwhiri.
  • The karanga generally begins with the initiating call (hosts) and response (visitors). Like the whaikōrero (formal speech of welcome), karanga follow a format in keeping with correct protocol.
  • It is normal for both kaikaranga (women who carry out the karanga) to address and greet each other and the people they are representing, to address and pay tribute to the dead of each other’s acquaintance (especially those who have most recently died) and to refer to the reason that has brought the two groups together.
  • The kaikaranga is usually versed in the history of the tribe, whakataukī (proverbs), and metaphor. She conveys important information to all those present about the local tribe, the guests and other information pertinent to the purpose of the gathering. An exceptional kaikaranga uses all of this information to establish connections between the marae and the visitors.
whaik rero
  • Whaikōrero or formal speech making follows the karanga. Some of the best Māori language orations are given during pōwhiri when skilled speakers craft the language into a series of verbal images. The protocols for whaikōrero during the pōwhiri are determined by the kawa (practices) of the marae or by the local iwi if the pōwhiri is not held on a marae.
whaik rero7
  • The basic format for whaikōrero is:
  • Tauparapara (ritual chant): a prayer or chant suitable to the reason of the meeting. Its purpose is to invoke the gods’ protection and to honour the visitors.
  • Mihi ki te whare tupuna (acknowledgement of the ancestral house): paying tribute to the central ancestor and descendants down through the generations until the present.
  • Mihi ki a Papatūānuku (acknowledgement of Mother Earth): giving thanks for Mother Earth and all living things.
  • Mihi ki te hunga mate (acknowledgement of the dead): paying tribute to the dead who live on in the spirit realm.
  • Mihi ki te hunga ora (acknowledgement of the living): giving thanks for our continued existence.
  • Te take o te hui (purpose of the meeting): the purpose for which the groups have gathered.
  • A waiata or song is sung after each whaikōrero by the group the orator represents. It is common to hear older more traditional waiata during pōwhiri.
  • Koha– a gift, generally an envelope of money, is laid on the ground by the last speaker for the manuhiri (visitors). A local kuia (female elder) may karanga as an expression of thanks. A male from the tangata whenua will pick up the koha.
  • Hongi – the pressing of noses signifies the joining together of tangata whenua and manuhiri. Tangata whenua invite the manuhiri to come forward to shake hands (hariru) and hongi.
h kari
  • Hākari – the feast, a meal is then shared. This usually signifies the end of the pōwhiri.
lime connection iv p whiri
The LIME Connection IV Pōwhiri forms part of the main conference program, and will be held on Day 1 at Waipapa Marae, Auckland – please be at Rydges Auckland at 8:30am on Tuesday 29th November, where a bus will take all delegates to the Marae.

Staff from The University of Auckland will act as hosts (tangata whenua)

Staff from The Univeristy of Otago will lead the visitors (manuhiri), including all delegates, through the Pōwhiri.

The waiata which the visitors (including delegates) will sing can be found on the LIME Connection IV website – please take the time to listen to the songs in advance and become familiar with the words.

LIME Connection IV Pōwhiri
dress standards
Dress Standards
  • It is required that you wear neat and tidy dress at the Pōwhiri
  • The wearing of skirts by women is considered respectful (but not necessarily compulsory)
  • Usually those attending a Pōwhiri will wear dark colours
other key tips
Other key tips...
  • Tikanga varies from marae to marae
    • No definitive protocol!
    • Follow directions given from Tangata Whenua
  • Overall , aim to be respectful (and you will be alright!). For e.g.
    • Turn phones off, take shoes off in wharenui
    • Don’t eat in tapu areas (wharenui)
    • Wait for karakia/prayer before eating etc
last key tip
Last key tip...
  • Remember to enjoy yourself as you go through our traditional pōwhiri experience....
  • Tihei Mauriora!

For more information see: