Marae Protocol

  • Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the pōwhiri (formal welcome) and gather at the waharoa (main entrance).
  • Dress Code: Males, please wear dark trousers and shirt; Women, please wear a black or dark below-knee skirt or dress.
  • Three waiata tautoko (supporting songs for speakers) have been provided with links to videos. Please listen to these and familiarise yourself with the words and the tunes.
  • All cell phones should be switched off throughout the pōwhiri.
  • As you enter, ensure the group is formed into the following order: kaikaranga (the caller) at the front, women standing closely behind and men behind the women.

The Marae Ātea – The Place of Welcome
If you are a manuhiri or first-time visitor to Orākei Marae, you should expect to be welcomed as an honoured guest. The protocol of pōwhiri (welcome), which takes place on all marae, is a simple one.
The pōwhiri recognises the coming together of two groups that are separated not only physically but also spiritually. It is a profound acknowledgement that we are all creatures of a spiritual realm. The marae ātea is tapu (sacred) and is often referred to as Te Tūranga-ō-Tu-te-ihiihi (the standing place of Tu Matauenga, the God of War). Alternatively, it is also known as Te Tūranga-ō-Tane-i-te-wānanga (the standing place of Tane Mahuta, God of Man).

Karanga – Call
Manuhiri (visitors) should congregate at the waharoa (gateway) of the marae. They should wait for the karanga of welcome from the kaikaranga (host’s caller). You enter the marae ātea as waewae tapu (sacred feet).  The karanga is highly spiritual and is the first act by which manuhiri and tangata whenua (hosts) begin the act of union. It is highly spiritual and through it the living and the dead of both parties are joined.

Whakaeke – Entrance
Orākei Marae adheres to Ngāti Whātua kawa (customs) known as pāeke. The karanga (call of welcome) from tangata whenua (hosts) goes out to manuhiri (visitors). The kaikaranga will reply to the call of welcome and lead the manuhiri slowly towards the wharenui (meeting house) for whakamaumahara (remembrance). Before reaching the wharenui, manuhiri will pause and stand with their heads bowed in remembrance to the hunga mate (ancestors whom have passed away). Tears are often shed by both manuhiri and tangata whenua.

Before you enter Tumutumu Whenua (the meeting house) you will need to remove your shoes. While generally seen as a courtesy, the principle of removing one’s shoes is also a symbolic one. It represents the leaving of the dust of Tū Matauenga (God of War) outside so that it does not soil the house of Rongo (God of Peace). You will be directed to the right of the entrance. Males take the front seats; women and the rest of the group take the seats behind. You should remain standing until the karakia (prayer) is completed and then sit down.

Whaikōrero – Formal Speeches
The mihimihi or whaikōrero take place in the wharenui. The whaikorero is usually opened by tangata whenua (hosts) with a tauparapara (chant) and is followed by a mihimihi (traditional greeting) acknowledging, among other things, the land, wharenui, the dead, those present and the purpose of the gathering. A whaikōrero (speech) is given by manuhiri (visitor).

Waiata – Song
Each speech is followed by a waiata. The waiata is an act of profound support for the speech and the orator. Usually led by the women, the waiata cements the relationship between the roles of men and women on the marae.

Koha- Gift
Koha is an example of the reciprocity which is a common feature of much Māori tradition. The koha reflects the mana of both the giver and the recipient.
The last kaikōrero for the manuhiri will lay the koha on the marae indicating to tangata whenua that the manuhiri speakers have finished. A karanga from the tangata whenua will be acknowledged and the koha picked up by the tangata whenua.

Hariru/hongi – The Pressing of Noses
The manuhiri will be invited to physically greet the tangata whenua through hariru and hongi (pressing of noses and shaking hands), the physical greetings where the manuhiri file past the tangata whenua, hongi and shake hands. The hariru and hongi remove the tapu that existed between the two groups and the two groups are now noa (free from tapu).

Basic Tikanga/etiquette guidelines during your visit

In the Wharenui/Meeting house

  • Don’t just walk onto a marae; you need to be welcomed on.
  • Remove your shoes and hats before going into the wharenui.
  • Do not stand up or walk in front of the speaker, walk around instead.
  • Permission must be given before using cameras.
  • Do not eat or drink in the wharenui/meeting house or in the surrounding area of the wharenui.
  • Do not sit on the pillows.

In the wharekai/dining room

  • Manuhiri (visitors) will be called in for food.
  • Wait until a karakia/prayer has been said before eating.
  • Do not pass food over a person’s head in the wharekai.
  • Do not sit on the tables or benches.
  • Smoking is not permitted in or around the wharenui or wharekai. Please ask where the designated smoking area is.
  • Manuhiri take their lead from tangata whenua, if you are unsure about something ask someone.

Waiata                                                                                                 Translation

Te aroha 
Te whakapono 
Me te rangimārie 
Tātou, tātou e
A song of love, faith and peace joining us together. 
Tūtira mai ngā iwi 
Tātou tātou e 
Tūtira mai ngā iwi 
Tātou tātou e 
Whai-a te marama-tanga 
me te aroha – e ngā iwi
Kia tapatahi 
Kia kotahi rā. 
Tātou tātou e.   
Tātou, tātou e
Hi aue hei!
Line up together people
All of us, all of us
Stand in rows people
All of us, all of us
Seek after knowledge
and love of others – everyone
Think as one
Act as one
All of us, all of us All of us, All of us
Hi aue hei !  
E toru ngā mea
Ngā mea nui
E kī ana
Te Paipera
Ko te mea nui
Ko te aroha.
There are three things
Three great things
As stated in
the Bible
But the greatest of these
Is love
Marae Layout