Delegates of the CMT'07 will have the unique opportunity to participate in a powhiri (welcome ceremony), hosted by the tangata whenua at the Marae on AUT's city campus.
Arrival at Marae
Visitors/manuhiri should arrive at a given time and wait outside the gate or main entrance of the Marae. Here, the visitors/manuhiri will finalise arrangements as to:
- Who will respond to the call or welcome/karanga (a woman).
- Who will respond to the speeches of welcome/whaikorero (men).
- What songs/waiata the group will sing to support each speaker.
- Who will be the last speaker who will lay down the gift/koha.
The leaders of the group will decide when to move forward in readiness to be called on to the Marae. Usually, in southern areas, the women are in the front and the men flank and protect the women and children.
A woman from the host side/tangata whenua will begin the call/karanga. This will signal the manuhiri to move forward. The powhiri is a very formal and sacred ceremony, so it is expected that the manuhiri will not chatter, drink, smoke or eat lollies, etc., throughout this process. The karanga will be answered by a woman from the manuhiri.
The tangata-whenua will begin the welcome speeches/whaikorero, which usually open with a sacred traditional chant/tauparapara or a traditional Maori proverb/whakatauki. This is followed by traditional greetings, acknowledging most of the following:
- the land in front of the wharenui
- the dead
- the reason for the gathering
- the wharenui
- the people present
The koha is an expression of appreciation and respect for the hospitality of the hosts/tangata whenua. After the last manuhiri speaker has presented the koha, a karanga of gratitude is performed and a tangata whenua representative will pick the koha up and also respond with a gesture of gratitude.
After the whaikorero, the tangata whenua will invite the manuhiri to go forward in a line, preferably following the speakers, to hongi and shake hands. It is through this ritual that peace, purpose and hope are expressed. The hongi is also a sign of life symbolising the action of Tane's breath of life to humans. By this action the life force is permanently established and the spiritual and physical bodies become a living entity.
Following the hongi, the tangata whenua will invite the manuhiri to break bread (have a cup of tea or a meal) and this will complete the formal welcome ceremony and removal of tapu from the manuhiri. The visitors become tangata whenua.
For more information about the powhiri, please click here.