The pōwhiri, a ritual of encounter.

Pōwhiri is a traditional Māori welcome ceremony and our pōwhiri are designed to formally welcome our students, staff and visitors to our marae and to symbolise the joint journey we will then be on together.

Key points for the pōwhiri

  • You will meet at the tomokanga (entrance of the Marae) to be welcomed. Please make sure your mobile is switched off.
  • You will not be able to eat or drink while in the Wharenui (meeting house).
  • You will need to remove your shoes before entering the Wharenui (meeting house).
  • There will be speeches and after each speech there will be a song (waiata).
  • At the conclusion of all speeches, you will be invited to come and hongi (press noses) and harirū (shake hands) with the tangata whenua (host).
  • The pōwhiri will conclude with some food and drink in the Wharekai (dining room).

Pōwhiri process

  • All manuwhiri (visitors) will assemble at the tomokanga (entrance of the Marae). Here the manuwhiri will decide which wāhine (females) will be responsible for doing the karanga (call) and which tāne (males) will give the whaikōrero (speech) on behalf of the ope (group). The final speaker must be determined, as they will be responsible for laying the koha (donation) down. All whaikōrero must be supported by a waiata (song).
  • When the ope is ready, the wāhine will move to the front and stand under the archway of the tomokanga and the tāne will file in behind. This is a signal to the tangata whenua (hosts) that the ope is ready for the pōwhiri to proceed.
  • The tangata whenua will perform the first karanga. The manuwhiri will reply as they move slowly toward the Wharenui. This is a solemn process to allow people to gather their thoughts and pay homage to the people who have gone before them. There is often a slight pause to acknowledge this. Once the manuwhiri have reached the Wharenui, shoes are removed before entering.
  • The paepae (seating area) for the manuwhiri is always set up on the right side of the Wharenui when walking in. Tāne sit at the front and wāhine sit behind.
  • A hīmene (hymn) will be conducted and initiated by kaumatua followed by a karakia (prayer).
  • Whaikōrero begin. The first speaker will always be from the tangata whenua to which the manuwhiri will respond, and alternate until completed. This process is of Tainui kawa and is known as Tauutuutu or Tū atu, Tū mai. The last speaker for the manuwhiri will put the koha down.
    Note: If there are more speakers for the manuwhiri, tangata whenua will speak and all manuwhiri will speak and then tangata whenua will conclude.
  • After each whaikōrero, the ope will support the kaikōrero (orator) with a waiata. Generally the Kaikaranga (caller) will start the waiata.
  • On completion of the whaikōrero, the manuwhiri will cross the floor and hariru (shake hands) and hongi (press noses). 
  • The formal welcome and reply are over and at this stage the manuwhiri and tangata whenua merge as one and partake in food and drink in the wharekai.