The Marae

The marae is a special place:
  • bonding whänau (family) and hapü (extended family) groups
  • of great mana (respect, prestige)
  • of great wairua (spirituality)
  • that heightens people's dignity
  • where Mäori customs are given ultimate expression
  • a central gathering place for:
    • births
    • marriages (märenatanga)
    • deaths (tangi)
    • special events
    • day-to-day living - a place to laugh, cry, eat and sleep together
  • a collection of buildings, including:
    • the whare moe - house for sleeping
    • the whare kai - house for eating
    • the kauta - the kitchen, an integral area when staying on the marae
    • the whare nui or whare tupuna - this house is a representation of the group's tupuna (ancestors)

Parts of the marae

The different parts of the whare tupuna are metaphorically linked to parts of the body. For example:
matapihithe eyes