When learning about our rich indigenous culture it’s important to start at the beginning. We know the best way to learn about culture is to experience it first hand. There are many opportunities to experience Māori culture in New Zealand and there is nothing better than having the opportunity to stay in a marae (sacred meeting place for Māori).
We have put together a quick guide to familiarise you with key concepts and protocol to get you prepared for your first stay on or visit to a marae.
Māori are New Zealand’s indigenous peoples. The Māori people are expert navigators who travelled from lands in the pacific over one thousand years ago. Māori were the first inhabitants of Aotearoa (the land of the long white cloud).
To learn about what makes us unique as New Zealanders it is important to take opportunities to learn about and experience our indigenous Māori culture. There is nothing that compares to it in the world. Our indigenous peoples are still striving to gain an equal footing in society post-colonisation. These facts make it paramount that as you walk your path towards employment in Aotearoa you understand, respect, and take on a living knowledge of the important role Māori people have as the first people of this land. Māori practices and beliefs have a pivotal role in our society at every level including the modern workplace.
A special way to experience Māori culture and worldview is to visit and stay a night or two on a marae (sacred meeting place). This will give you an in-depth understanding of how Māori lived and how today’s Māori live in and experience the world around them. The on-marae experience will allow you to; see the traditional buildings which often feature intricate carvings, as well as learn elements of Te Reo Māori (the Māori language), tikanga Māori (Māori customs) and kawa (localised rituals and customs). You will meet the iwi (tribe) and hapu (subtribe) and or/whānau (family) that the marae connects to. You will also be part of a traditional welcome (powhiri).