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Guidelines for Powhiri on the University Marae

The following guidelines for powhiri (formal welcomes) on the University Marae are extracted from the paper Tikanga Tainui; Tikanga Whare Wananga by Tom Roa and Haki Tuaupiki. The paper explains that these guidelines are derived from a series of ‘hui wananga’, where kaumatua (elders) of Ngati Wairere, of Waikato-Maniapoto, and Tainui were invited to consult with University Maori staff to gather together understandings of Tainui Tikanga, which could provide a guide for protocols undertaken within Tainui’s traditional boundaries.

Through the process outlined above, the following guidelines for powhiri (formal welcomes) on the University Marae were established:

  • Powhiri will be conducted following Tainui protocols.
  • Manuwhiri will gather at the top of Gate 4 along Hillcrest road / in the nearby parking lot.
  • Wherever possible, a steward from the host side shall liaise with visitors before the powhiri starts to ensure Tainui protocols are clearly understood.
  • Women play important roles within Tikanga Tainui.
  • The first voice heard by the manuwhiri as they approach will be that of a woman in the karanga (wailing call of welcome performed solely by women).
  • The language of the karanga will be Maori.
  • Waikato-Tainui women as hosts will start and conclude the karanga. If no Waikato-Tainui women are present, Tainui would be grateful if those protocols are conducted by other capable women with appropriate expertise
  • Maori will be the language of ‘mana’ on the marae-atea (the open courtyard in front of the wharenui.
  • Waikato-Tainui men as hosts will start and conclude the whaikorero (speechmaking protocols) during a powhiri. If no Waikato-Tainui men are present, Tainui would be grateful if those protocols are conducted by other capable men with appropriate expertise.
  • Provision for English-speaking visitors will be made through interpreters if they are available who will sit amongst the visitors; and provision made for English to be used, if necessary, following the powhiri.
  • Following each speaker, it is preferred that waiata koroua (traditional chant) are selected to be sung.
  • Singers will sit following the song to allow the speaker to conclude.
  • Upon the offering of a koha (donation), a female from the host side shall acknowledge this token with a karanga and the koha will be retrieved by a male from amongst the hosts.
  • Speakers are encouraged to restrict their comments to the kaupapa (theme/topic) of the hui (gathering).
  • If skilled exponents of the wero (challenge) are present and able, they are encouraged to participate in the powhiri as directed by the elders.
  • Provision for women to speak will be made, as necessary, following the powhiri.
  • Both men and women shall wear appropriate attire.

These protocols will be observed by Tainui members of staff. In the absence of such staff, the invitation has been extended to others who use the University Marae to consider these protocols as guides in their conducting of hui involving powhiri on the marae.

Click here for a copy of the paper - Roa,T. & Tuaupiki,J.T. (2005).Tikanga Tainui; Tikanga Whare Wananga. Te Pua Wananga ki te Ao, University of Waikato.

powhiri