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Tūrangawaewae - What is a marae?

Duration: 2:29
Download the video clip for FLV player (12.04 MB)

In this clip, the term tūrangawaewae is explained – and its implications for people's rights and responsibilities. We hear about the different roles of the marae, a focal point for a particular community to welcome their visitors, celebrate different occasions, and farewell their dead.

Transcript

 

The term tūrangawaewae literally means a place to stand, so a place for your feet to stand. And, from a Māori point of view, a person’s tūrangawaewae is generally related again to where they come from, where they grew up, and if they have grown up in an area where their parents grew up, their grandparents grew up and so forth, then you have a situation where the tūrangawaewae is quite clear for them, they will say this is where I am from. So the people from this marae community, this is their tūrangawaewae, the place where they stand, the place where they are from, the place where they have rights, the place where they also have responsibilities and obligations. So when speakers stand on their marae they are exercising the quality of that aspect of tūrangawaewae. If we look at a marae in today's context, a marae is an area to practise certain cultural traditions, from welcoming and looking after visitors, also to celebrate such things as birthdays, anniversaries, and then finally and probably most importantly it’s a way of farewelling our dead. So those are probably the main reasons why marae exist. The marae is a gathering place, a place, a focal point for a community to be able to carry out cultural practices, traditions, and basically be Māori. The people that would belong to a marae are generally those people who are descended from ancestors who occupy it, that land area where the marae stands, or the marae is situated. In this case here, there will be a common ancestor that the people of this marae are descendants of, blood descendants. So the marae then becomes their collective responsibility.

Brian Morris – Te Reo Māori and tikanga expert

 If we look at a marae in today's context, a marae is an area to practise certain cultural traditions, from welcoming and looking after visitors, also to celebrate such things as birthdays, anniversaries, and then finally and probably most importantly it’s a way of farewelling our dead. So those are probably the main reasons why marae exist. The marae is a gathering place, a place, a focal point for a community to be able to carry out cultural practices, traditions, and basically be Māori.

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