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Speaking rights on a Marae.
This can vary a bit between different Iwi, if the father of a family can't speak for the family for whatever reason, then in some cases it falls on his wife to speak for him, on other marae it would pass to the eldest son.. Failing the family having sons, then the eldest daughter would speak..

If there's younger members from the same family on the marae and they try to speak instead of letting the oldest speak, then it'll cause problems.. The only time a younger family member or woman will speak at official gatherings is if the eldest has given speaking rights to the younger person..

Usually the only reason an older woman will speak is if her husband has passed away and there's no oldest son there to speak for the family.. Some Iwi are more staunch on this than others and will only let the men speak, others will let the mother or grandmother of the family speak, failing that the oldest daughter if there's no son there to speak..

It's not uncommon to see the kuia or elder women speak, but they'll pass to an eldest son in the family if they're there and the kuia will just quietly back up the son if need be..

The kaumatua, or elder male/s always get first speaking rights over the kuia, or elderly women too, however if the chief of the Iwi decides to speak, then he gets speaking rights first..

Things used to be really staunch in the old days, but things have been relaxed a little in recent times, in saying that the men still get speaking rights over the women in most cases, unless of course the women have been asked to speak, then it's up to the oldest to speak, not the younger ones...
Love many, trust few, paddle your own waka.

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