MNZ in partnership with Belong Auckland organised a Marea visit on Saturday 24th November 2018. The aim of the visit was to experience and learn more about the history of Maori, their culture and customs.
Our new Operations Officer Tendekai R Mugadza attended a Marae visit as part of his welcome to MNZ. The following is his experience and what he learnt.
“I was enrolled to the Awataha Marae Experience a few weeks into my new role. I can honestly say it was a worthwhile experience and an excellent way to acknowledge the people of the land and their history”.
Upon arrival, the hosts first did a traditional welcome called a Pohwiri, before all guests were allowed in. This is important as visitors must declare whether they come in peace or in war to a Marae. The leader demonstrated both scenarios.
The group was then taken into a big meeting room where history of the Maori people was told through various stories. The group found the history of Maori and their ancestors intriguing. A teaching of a traditional song (Waita) followed afterwards.
In another segment they were taught how to make useful items like bags using a traditional weaving method called Raranga. Part of the experience was learning the Haka and a few other chanting songs which the drew the highlights of the day. Lunch was also a traditional meal called a Hangi, where the food is traditionally prepared and cooked in the ground.
Tendekai says the things he mostly enjoyed were
1) Learning about the history of Maoris and how they lived.
2) Learning the Haka and knowing what the words mean and relating it to all the sporting events.
3) Eating traditionally prepared food (Hangi).
4) Learning how to approach a Marae as a guest.
5) Learning how to greet with the touch of the nose (Hongi).