Hui Fono Whakatū Pōwhiri

Whakatū Marae

We trust the following guidelines will help you familiarise with the pōwhiri process that observes the kawa (protocol) of mana whenua (local people) of Whakatū.


Kawa refers to the appropriate customs and protocols that serve to support or enhance tikanga, this can also differ between different iwi and marae throughout Aotearoa.

The kawa of Whakatū Marae is tau utuutu.

Tau utuutu

The procedure in which kaikōrero (speaker) on the tangata whenua side starts whaikōrero (speech), followed by a kaikōrero from the manuhiri (visitors). Each side alternates, however tangata whenua must conclude all whaikōrero.

Tangata whenua will always require one extra kaikōrero than manuhiri – they both start and conclude whaikōrero.

Manuhiri (visitors) are to gather at the Waharoa (carved entrance) to Whakatū. This is also the time when koha (donations) will be collected and handed to the main Kaikōrero (speaker); and confirmation of waiata (songs) to support whaikōrero.

  • All mobile phones should be turned off at this time, or on silent.
  • Wāhine (women) should be in the front with kaikaranga (female caller) leading.
  • Dignatories should be at the front of the group. Tāne (men) are at the back.
  • The group should stay close in formation.

Please note: no filming or taking photos once the pōwhiri starts.

Kaikaranga (local host female caller) begins the pōwhiri with a karanga (call) to welcome you. The manuhiri kaikaranga (visitor’s female caller) will reply and lead you onto the marae atea (courtyard) and into the wharenui (venue). Wāhine are required to lead at the front of the procession, and tāne to follow behind.

The karanga exchange will continue as the group moves forward, acknowledging those who have passed away and extending the welcome to the group. Please move as a group staying close behind the manuhiri kaikaranga (visitor’s female caller).

Karanga whakatau after this final call of welcome, you may be seated.

Kaikōrero (male speaker) from the local host will welcome you. It is usual to start with a karakia (spiritual acknowledgement or focus statement). They will also acknowledge the kaupapa (purpose) for the event. A waiata (song) shall follow each speaker to enhance and support what has been said. The opportunity to speak is then handed over to respond. The whaikōrero is concluded by the local host.

Hongi is where two people gently press noses together, an action that symbolises a connection of the breath of life. It demonstrates that the manuhiri has been accepted into the wharenui in peace.

You may hariru (shake hands) if appropriate, generally follow the lead from the local hosts. You may acknowledge tangata whenua by saying ‘Tēna koe’ followed by their name if it is known. After the hongi, make your way to your seat and remain standing. Please note that men are required to sit at the front, and women behind.

Whakanoa is the process of removing the sacredness in the formalities of the ceremony, by sharing kai (food) with each other. This process will conclude the formal welcome.


Tikanga can be described as general behaviour in te ao Māori for everyday life and interaction. The concept is derived from the word ‘tika’ which means ‘right’ or ‘correct’. For tangata whenua, it is a way to behave that is culturally appropriate. Tikanga is generally behaviour and practices that have been passed down through generations. Tikanga is somewhat general across te ao Māori, however it is important to note that each iwi and hapū may have variations of tikanga specific and special to them.


Written By Pale Sauni

Pasifika, tēnā koutou
Pasifika, tēnā outou
Le Atua, ia fa’afetai

Tālofa lava, mālō e lelei
Ni sa bula vinaka,
kia orana
Fakaalofa lahi atu,
Taloha ni, halo ola keta
Mauri ora