The Study Abroad Newsletter

Maori Culture

Emma Tiffan

Agriculture major
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Students at a sporting eventI have had many wonderful experiences so far, but one of my favorite memories was being invited to visit a Maori meeting house called a Marae. These beautifully carved, one room buildings are where tribes would welcome visitors onto their land. I was very fortunate to be invited to enter a Marae with a group that was visiting.

Students touring a forestIt involved an exchange of songs and welcomes before we took off our shoes and entered the building. The men and women sat on opposite sides of the room and a lengthy ceremony commenced. Each elder of the tribe delivered an address and members of the visiting groups returned speeches. We sang songs and went through introductions before ending the ceremony by exchanging a hongi with each elder, or touching noses. It was a beautiful, authentic exchange that I was very lucky to be a part of.