Hui Fono Pōwhiri

Te Poho o Rawiri

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

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 at Te Poho o Rawiri marae is pāeke.

In which all kaikōrero (speakers) on mana whenua speak first before manuhiri whaikōrero can commence.

Manuhiri (visitors) are to gather at the Waharoa (carved entrance) to Te Poho o Rawiri. 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 will reply and lead the group onto the marae atea (courtyard). There is a brief pause as we acknowledge those who have passed away, from both the tangata whenua and manuhiri. A final karanga is received, and our group will move to be seated. Men move to the front row of seats with our kaikorero (speaker/s) taking their positions at the first few seats, followed closely by the remaining men. The women fill the chairs behind the men - follow the lead of the kaikaranga. The tangata whenua will wait for everyone to be seated, before they take their seats. 

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

Whaikōrero It is usual for the local kaikōrero to start with a karakia (spiritual acknowledgement) or tauparapara (incantation). They will weave the relationships between the tangata whenua and manuhiri, and vice versa. They will celebrate the connection and commonalities. The kaikōrero will acknowledge the many who have passed away and invite the tipuna (ancestors) to be part of the occasion. They will speak of the reason for us coming together, and bestow good tidings upon our gathering. A waiata will follow each kaikōrero.

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 as tangata whenua, 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. Most often the formalities are concluded at this point followed by whakanoa. However, in this instance, for Hui Fono, we have been given the privilege of sharing ava at this time.

Ava ceremony will take place to acknowledge the presence and attendance of the people of Te Moana nui a Kiwa.

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.

Waiata (Written by Pale Sauni)

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

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