The marae is the place where Māori values and philosophy are reaffirmed. Carvings and decorative panels found in the grounds of each marae and particularly as adornments on the exterior and interior of the wharenui (meeting house) tell stories about the tribal ancestors.
Māori culture has a dynamic nature that is inherent in a lot of what is seen on a marae.
When visitors arrive at a marae for the first time, the pōwhiri - a formal Māori welcome - follows a traditional protocol. Visitors (manuhiri) move together onto the grounds of the marae in a tight-knit group with the women in front. They receive the pōwhiri (welcome) and give a koha (gift).
Shoes must be taken off before entering the wharenui.
Typically, there are 10 stages in a pōwhiri but these may vary from place to place.
Pōwhiri - the Māori welcome
Aotearoa - New Zealand's unique Maori culture
Introduction to Māori culture
Māoritanga - Māori culture explained
The haka: New Zealand icon
Māori connection to land and sea
A new era: the Māori renaissance
The Treaty of Waitangi
New Zealand icon: Silver fern