Powhiri at Pipitea Marae

Preparing for arrival at Pipitea Marae

Before coming to our marae, please feel free to ask us anything that may not be covered in this information pack. It is important that your ropu/group understand the kawa or our Marae. (Kawa refers to the set of protocols by which a Maori iwi / tribe or whanau / extended family govern themselves.) Some or all of the activities/customs below may apply to your event.

In the case that none of the customs listed below are used at our hui; an awareness of the "basic tikanga" below should assist you with what can and can't take place at our Marae, in order to respect our custom.


The purpose of a Powhiri is to welcome manuhiri / visitors to our Marae. The Powhiri provides each group with the opportunity to meet each other and it also allows the manuhiri the opportunity to explain why they are visiting the Marae. This is very important for those who are waewae tapu (first time visitors) to an area.

Gathering Outside The Marae

Before entering the Marae, ensure that everyone involved in the Powhiri from your roupu / group gathers outside the Marae on time and is ready to go onto the Marae together.

Going Onto The Marae: There are a number of ways to go onto the Marae; the kawa of Pipitea Marae is as follows:

The ropu/group is lead onto the Marae; the members of the group stand together and move slowly as a group onto the Marae. The woman who is the kaikaranga generally stands at the front of the group when moving onto the marae to respond to the karanga from the tangata whenua.

The Karanga

The kaikaranga (from the tangata whenua) will make the first call of welcome to the manuhiri. This is then responded to by the manuhiri kaikaranga.

These exchanges are calls of recognition and respect from one group to another. The karanga is also used to tell the kaikorero what the kaupapa (reason) will be for the actual hui.

Once the kaikaranga starts, the group should move slowly onto the marae- atea or forecourt of the wharenui and take guidance from the kaikaranga.

Once the karanga is fully completed, the group should move towards the seats that face the tangata whenua. If the proceedings are inside the wharenui remember to remove your shoes.


Pipitea Marae operates with the kawa of Te Atiawa, therefore prior to the commencement of the whaikorero/mihi, the tangata whenua will beckon all manuhiri to come forward for the hariru (which includes the hongi).

The hongi is where people press (not rub) noses and the sharing of breath, this part of the Powhiri is important, as it symbolises a meeting of minds between two people.

Do not sit down until the kaumätua accompanying you sits down or signals you to be seated. Male speakers sit in the front and everyone else sits at the back as the men are seen to protect those at the back of the ropu/group.

Nga Whaikorero

Once everyone is seated the whaikorero/mihi start.

The protocol of Pipitea is that:
  • the tangata whenua welcome tne manuhiri to the Marae
  • the manuhiri respond

Traditionally, only the experts in the art of whaikorero (oratory) would stand to speak to manuhiri. The purpose of the whaikorero is to acknowledge and link the past, present and future, and laying down the kaupapa for the Hui or event that will take place.

Nga Waiata

To support the speaker, a waiata (song) is sung once the speech is made. The waiata should be appropriate for the occasion and should be learnt by all that will attend the hui.

Rules During Powhiri

  • Do not talk while a speaker is talking
  • Do not walk out during Powhiri
  • Do not sit on the paepae, unless you are willing to speak or get directed by kaumatua
  • Do not move around while a speaker is talking
  • DO not eat, drink or chew gum during Powhiri

Once the hui ends, the tangata whenua generally invite the manuhiri to join them for Hakari / kai.


Hakari (formal banquet) is the act of feasting that traditionally applied to the eating of cooked food. The Hakari recognises the transition from the spiritual realm of the powhiri back into the physical world, where food is shared. It a celebration of unity, and a time to get to know someone or more on the marae.


Poroporoaki, or speeches of farewell, signifies the act of farewell and the return of mana (esteem and authority) to the host people. Event though our Marae is located in an urban setting, staying with or experiencing our culture and environment is as much a spiritual experience as it is physical.

So before leaving our Marae, pause for a while. Reflect upon the welcome, the history and the hospitality that you, your ancestors and your ropu/guests have received from Pipitea Marae and its people.

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Page Updated: 24 Nov 2011 by christo. © Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, unless otherwise stated