In New Zealand the Maori meeting house takes an important place for Maori people to practise traditions and bring communities together.
|Marae - meeting house|
The Marae a Maori meeting house also called Te Maraenui-Atea-o-Tumatauenga is a sacred place that serves religious and social purposes. Nowadays Maraes still serve the Maori people as ceremonial grounds to welcome visitors, farewell the dead and have gatherings to practise their traditions.
The term Marae stands for a complex of buildings. There is the meeting house which is usually the central building. The Meeting house has numerous Maori names including Whare Tupuna and Wharenui. The meeting house generally symbolises New Zealand Maraes. Other parts of the marae are the dining room where guest are feed and the sacred space in front of the Marae where people gather and visitors are welcomed.
When being welcomed on to the Marae a Powhiri is performed. This is a traditional Maori ceremony. Traditionally in form of a Kapa Haka a challenge is made and then a peace offering follows by placing a leaf or a carved effigy down on the ground. Other protocols include general respect for speakers during a Mihi Whaikorero which are formal greetings between the host and visitors and respect inside the Marae by taking shoes off.
A Marae is a social place for general gathering, but it is also a sacred place where respect for culture and customs is important.
Author: Karim Cisse webmaster of Easy-Science-Experiments.com