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Being a guest on a Marae.
I've been on a few different Marae over the years, usually I've popped in the back entrance and seen a couple of friends when I got there.. some times it pays to get in the back way if you can and get a cuppa and pay a visit to either the little boys room, or the little girls room if you've traveled to be there..

I've never gone in the main entrance if I got to a marae a little early, sometimes depending on the Iwi and protocol, they can get a little upset if you come on the marae before being officially welcomed on by one of the elders, or kaumatua..

I've only ever gone onto a marae before being called on and welcomed if I know someone there that's part of the Iwi there, and I've got to know them fairly well before doing it.. some of the elders are pretty staunch and like you to wait until you're called on and welcomed before you make yourself at home..

Some Iwi have a brief little ceremony, they'll call you on to the marae, so that means waiting outside the front gates until they call you on. Calling you onto the marae has been done by some of the women, most of the marae I've been on it was the older woman that called out "Haere Mai," they'd have a few others with them when you're called on..

It's always a bit of a slow walk for the folk being called on.. one thing I was told the first time I ever got called onto a marae was to take off or hide any gold or silver rings etc.. both come from the ground and are considered a sort of sacred thing.. it's okay for these things to be seen after you've been called on and welcomed, but some elders could get a bit offended if they're visible beforehand..

Once you've been called on, one of the elders, usually a kaumatua, or male will welcome you and give a bit of a talk about the Iwi and the marae.. depending on the Iwi, this can be either brief, or quite a lengthy thing, I've seen some old koro's talk for an hour or more while others will only talk for 10 or 15 minutes..

After you've been welcomed on by the elders, you usually have to introduce yourselves.. in my case I've usually been to maraes with a maori friend, and he was older than me, so he spoke for us being the older person in the group of us being welcomed on.. when he started his speech, he is supposed to thank the folk for welcoming us on to the marae, then introduce us and say where we're from..

It helps if you know the language too as everything is done in maori of course.. I have the problem I can understand some of what's being said, but don't know enough to be able to do complete sentences or speeches, so I haven't minded having the maori friend with me.. at least it meant the important bits were spoken in the right language when it was our turn to reply..

A few Iwi are quite staunch about maori being spoken during the welcome, so for someone like me to speak english would be a bit against the local protocol and would offend the elders especially..

I've never been to the marae in Rotorua, but they've made that a big commercialised place, so things may be a little more relaxed there..

If anyone was visiting a marae here, it'd impress the elders especially if you learned enough to be able to say thank you for the welcome and say a little about yourself in maori.. obviously if you have an english name, that gets said in english, but if it was possible to learn a brief speech in maori, it'd go down quite well on some marae as you'd be showing some interest if a brief speech was learned...
Love many, trust few, paddle your own waka.

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Being a guest on a Marae. - by Sandy - 08-26-2019, 09:28 PM

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