Waka Shelter, Wairaka, Whakatane
River When Maori introduce themselves formally they will usually name their mountain and their river as an extension of their tribal identification. If you stay on a Marae, you may wish to introduce yourself in the same way.
Help or assistance
Traditional Maori custom of caring for others.
A fierce, rhythmical dance accompanied by threatening gestures and grimaces. The most famous haka
, of course is the one performed by the New Zealand All Black rugby team at international games called Ka Mate
. But Maori do not confine waiata
to large public events like this – their waiata
are a central part of their culture and are performed whenever people come together. Each tribe has its own haka
. The haka
originated as a challenge to the approach of strangers, and is part of a rich protocol of encounter, whether in battle or friendship.
The Haka - Ka Mate
was first uttered by the famous Maori chief Te Rauparaha who escaped from his pursuers by hiding in a kumara pit. When the hairy local chief who had hidden him opened up the pit, Te Rauparaha was expecting to meet his enemies. He climbed out of the pit and commenced his haka:
Ka mate, ka mate it is death, it is death)
Ka ora, ka ora. (It is life it is life)
Tenei te tangat apuhuruhuru (Behold the hairy man)
Nana nei I tiki mai I Whakawhiti te ra (Who caused the sun to shine)
Upane, upane (Abreast, keep abreast)
Upane ka aupane (The rank, hold fast)
Whiti te ra (Into the sunshine).
A traditional earth-oven used for feasts and large public events.
Extended family group
The traditional personal greeting in a powhiri that involves a pressing of noses or sharing of breath between manuhiri (visitors) and tangata whenua (hosts). The hongi is the traditional form of Maori greeting, much as Europeans shake hands.
Stewardship. Maori believe that they have a sacred duty, handed down from their ancestors to take care of the environment for future generations. Their tikanga lays down specific rules or codes of behaviour for this task – like issues of “resting” fishing grounds and shellfish beds by imposing ceremonial rahui (prohibitions) at certain periods. According to their belief, it is not possible for them to avoid or relinquish this duty, since it is tapu.
Like most other indigenous peoples, Maori were and are a very spiritual. Much like, for instance, Native Americans, they considered the world and everything in it to be sacred, and to be possessed of wairua (spirit). In prayer through karakia, Maori connect to this universal spirit as it manifests in the natural world.
The spine-tingling call made by an elderly woman to call visitors onto a Marae.
Respected male elder
A small gift or donation given as a way of defraying hospitality expenses and as a mark of appreciation for manaakitanga. It is customary to contribute a koha at a Marae visit. One of the manuhiri (visitors) will usually collect the donations prior to entering the Marae and put them in an envelope to be placed on the ground at the end of the whaikorero. Koha used to be given in the form of food – kumara, pigs, etc. but in a cash economy these trasditions have been replaced by the donation of money.
Unity or oneness, solidarity
Kowhaiwhai are the painted patterns on rafters in a meeting house.
Respected female elder.
Status, prestige, power, integrity.
The state or responsibility of having guardianship or authority (kaitiakitanga) over a place. Tangata whenua have manawhenua over a rohe.
Literally – ordinary. Maori (as we now know them) did not exist as a class of people. They were tribal. There were (and still are) different tribal groupings - Tainui, Te Arawa, Ngati Awa, Nga Puhi, Ngati Purou etc. Their constitutional forms were exercised at the Iwi or Hapu level. When Europeans first arrived in Aotearoa they asked the indigenous people here who they were. They replied that they were “just ordinary people” ie. Maori. The name stuck, and as time progressed, the notion of Maori as The Other to the tauiwi
(newcomers) became a mark of identity. Yet even today, the struggle to reassert traditional constitutional authority persists, especially with respect to Treaty of Waitangi settlements.
The cluster of buildings and spaces where ceremonial meetings and events happen.
The open space in front of a Whare Nui
(Meeting House) which manuhiri
(visitors) cross in the welcoming ceremony.
Mountain. When Maori introduce themselves formally they will usually name their mountain and their river as an extension of their tribal identification. If you stay on a Marae, you may wish to introduce yourself in the same way.
Traditional Maori massage, act of encouragement.
Traditional tattoo, traditionally facial, but also on the back, arms, legs and buttocks. Moko was usually reserved fro those of high rank or status and was not merely decorative. It was and still is emblematic of whakapapa (ancestral lineage). Women traditionally had their lips and chins tattooed. Men, on the other hand had full facial moko and still do. With a full facial moko, one can literally read a person's identity on their face.
Non-sacred. common, profane, opposite of tapu.
The Maori name for New Zealanders of European descent.
Communally owned residential development.
Farewell ceremony usually held after a Marae stay.
Ceremonial welcome Take a look at the interactive powhiri on the tourism NZ website http://www.newzealand.com/travel/about-nz/culture/powhiri/powhiri-introducti
Literally “hot hands”. Refers to the workers in the kitchen or whare kai who prepare the food, wash the dishes etc, for guests.
Maori discussion or way.
Carved ceremonial spear.
Literally, ‘people of the land’. Refers to the social group that possesses manawhenua (authority or ownership) over a particular place.
Burial ceremony. Maori ceremonies around death are very important. The mate or dead person or his or her tupapaku (lifeless body) are kept on the Marae for up to three days (depending on the importance of the person in the community) to allow mourners to come to pay their respects. Maori believe that the spirit does not leave the vicinity of the body immediately, and so the tangi is an opportunity for public grieving in which mourners speak directly and publicly to the mate (and sometimes hongi with the tupapaku), and use the event as an opportunity to say goodbye and to move on. It is a profoundly transformative ritual.
New-comers, including Pakeha.
Support, urge on.
Younger relation or sibling.
Maori self-determination. A philosophical and political movement among Maori for their understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi to be honoured. They hold that under International Law, any linguistic variation in Treaties or Agreements between the colonial powers and indigenous peoples must favour the Treaty version written and signed by the colonised in their own language. In this light, Tinorangatiratanga is seen for a call to equality of partnership and a reinstatement of self-determination by Maori.
Expert, master in a given field ie. Tohunga Whakairo – master carver.
Older relation or sibling.
Tuakana – Teina
The Maori tradition whereby older children take care of, protect and teach younger siblings.
Literally, ‘place to stand’. Refers to the place where one is born or with which one identifies culturally and ancestrally. In formal situations it is traditional for Maori to introduce not only themselves by name, but also to name their river, their mountain, their lake etc. This comes from a time when it was a matter of survival to know not only who a person was as an individual, but where they were from both geographically and ancestrally. Utu the code of reciprocity and/or revenge had no time frame, and historical obligations either positive or negative needed to be specifically understood. It is also the name of the place in the Waikato region which is the traditional seat of the Kingitanga Movement - the seat of the Maori King or Queen.
Cemetery or burial ground. Note that most Maori burial grounds have water available at the entrance/exit. This is to sprinkle on oneself after visiting the dead, to remove the tapu associated with death.
Custom of reciprocity or payback. Sometimes refers to revenge, but utu was and is a very basic cultural standard of Maori, who were very concerned to not be seen to be exploiting others. Utu is closely linked to manakitanga or the rules and customs of hospitality.
Purpose – as in the purpose of a Marae visit.
The gateway that usually separates a Marae or pa
(village) from the rest of the world. It marks the entrance transition point from profane or common space into sacred space – the Marae Atea
Song or chant.
Place in the Bay of Islands where the Treaty between the British and Maori was signed in 1840.
Canoe. In modern usage it is used to refer to an automobile. Sometimes used as a term for a confederation of tribes whose tupuna
(shared) ancestors arrived on the same waka
from the Pacific Islands at the time of migration, as in Mataatua Waka
The traditional challenge component of a powhiri
The (often long) ritual of reciprocal speech-making that forms a central part of a powhiri
Carving, usually of a building or building component. Carvings are not merely decorative, but tell the story of the ancestor whom the house represents, and of the people who occupy it.
Humble. Literally, ‘to make oneself little’. Persons who have this characteristic are most highly valued in Maori culture.
Communal dining room or building.
Ceremonial Meeting House, literally ‘big house’. Sometimes called a Whare Hui
(literally ‘meeting house’, or Whare Moe
(Sleeping house – since Maori hui
or meetings often go on for days and people sleep communally over extended periods. The wharenui
is seen as the embodiment of an ancestor – the ridge being the spine, the rafters the ribs, the koruru
(carved face at the apex of the front maihi (bargeboards) etc.
Maori Health Centre. Sometimes called a Whare Hauora.
(Wind, essence or breath of life).
A ceremonial canoe shelter. In modern usage, a garage.
Traditional place of esoteric learning.