Image: GNS Science

Cultural Information

Marae Etiquette and Protocol – Te Kawa me ōna Tikanga.

 A pōhiri (formal welcome) encapsulates the first part of the ceremony onto the marae, starting with the initial karanga (call) from the tangata whenua (people of the land, the hosts) right up to the sharing of kai (food). For our conference, it welcomes you to Rotorua and more broadly to New Zealand, and it removes the tapu (sacredness) from the manuhiri (visitors), who are referred to as waewae tapu (literally, sacred feet) if they are first-time visitors to that particular marae/area.

It is important that we understand and acknowledge that when we arrive and are welcomed at the conference venue, the appropriate behaviour is applied. The protocols described below relate to a welcome onto a marae (Māori meeting grounds) or designated building such as the conference venue.

Because we are on Te Arawa land, it is also important to know the Kawa or rules of the welcome. For our conference, we will follow someone who knows the tikanga (protocol) of Te Arawa and they will guide us through the process.

Te Arawa marae etiquette and protocol.

Te Arawa kawa (sacred rules) and tikanga (customs, traditions and procedures) pertaining to the marae area are strictly adhered to when manuhiri (visitors) are welcomed onto their marae (sacred courtyard) or when other formal ceremonies are being held on the marae. The (kawa) protocol is Tauutuutu, (alternating speakers). This process is explained under “Ngā Whaikōrero – Oratory”.

 Assembly area for Manuhiri (guests).

Guests will assemble in front of the designated building, in our case the Energy Events Centre. Please wear casual smart clothing. No short skirts, shorts, tee shirts, jandals.

A controller will meet you at this point and organise to the following if available:

1.      Kaikaranga (Female Caller)

2.      Kaikōrero (Male Speaker).

3.      Koha. An envelope will be presented to the tangata whenua (hosts) on behalf of the guests. It is a gesture of intent and goodwill from the guests to the hosts.

4.      The Manuhiri will be sorted into an arranged group with females in the front and males at the end.

5.      Please turn off all cell phones during the formalities. The official (mandated) film crew will film the formalities.  

Ngā Karanga

Te wahine karanga (female caller) will stand in front of the roro (the front of the building). The karanga will start with the tangata whenua - Te Arawa. She will move slowly backwards towards the whatitoka (entrance to the building).

The wahine karanga for the manuhiri (if available) will then respond. The Manuhiri will then follow the wahine karanga into the building. The tangata whenua will again respond, and so forth.

However, tangata whenua must perform the final karanga, and this should take place at the whatitoka. Karanga should not be performed within the whare.

Ngā Whaikōrero (Oratory).

During the whaikōrero (oratory), the tangata whenua (Te Arawa) will begin the speechmaking from the paepae tapu (sacred beam). The manuhiri (guests) will respond accordingly, the tangata whenua will then respond, and so forth until all speakers from the manuhiri have spoken.

As with the karanga, tangata whenua will end all whaikōrero.

Ngā Kinaki (Waiata Mōteatea).

In Te Arawa, ancient waiata mōteatea are preferred to hymns and other modern waiata, when supporting whaikōrero on Marae. Therefore, no modern instruments such as the guitar should be used. Te Arawa prefer to sing their history which is included in all their waiata mōteatea.

Te Hongi (pressing of the nose).

At the conclusion of the whaikōrero, the manuhiri are invited to come forward and perform the hongi ritual, which uplifts the sacredness and completes the formalities of the ceremony. Current Covid -19 precautions maybe in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

Te Hakari (food and refreshments).

Finally, all guests are invited to partake in refreshments to further enhance the Whakanoa (make common) ritual, so that everyone will become one people and enjoy each other’s company.  

*Background information taken from Sylvia Tapuke and Bubs Smith’s LEARNZ explanation at

 IAVCEI 2023 Logo – explanation of the design

 The logo for the IAVCEI 2023 Scientific Assembly was conceptualised after discussions with a local wood carver and cultural advisor – Taparoto Nicholson. Together with Ame McSporran’s design, we were able to combine them into one coherent logo. The logo requires some context, because it articulates the story of Rūaumoko (Māori god of earthquakes and volcanoes)


For a long time Ranginui (Sky father) and Papa-tū-ā-nuku (Earth mother) lay in a tight embrace and within their bosoms were their 71 children. The children, also known as atua Māori, are kaitiaki (guardians) of environmental domains. Like a whānau, each child has a personality and some children get on well with their siblings and others not so well. For a long time, they remained in darkness until Tāne and some of the siblings decided to separate their parents so they could have space to grow and develop. Tāne met with the other siblings and they had a wānanga (long meeting). The decision-making process was not straight forward, and after much turmoil and heated discussion, Tāne decided to go ahead with the plan to separate. This was supported by Tūmatauenga. The elder siblings Tāwhirimatea, Tangaroa, and Whiro were very angry at this decision and resulted in a huge feud. Meanwhile, the unborn child Rūaumoko remained in the womb of his mother Papa-tūā-nuku, kicking and playing.

There are many versions of this pūrākau (genealogy story), but they generally follow the same theme of atua Māori separating Ranginui and Papa-tū-ā-nuku to allow light into the world. There are also many versions about Rūaumoko (God of earthquakes and volcanoes). Some tribes believe he is still a baby, innocent within his mother’s womb and that one day he will be birthed. In one version, Tāne sends his youngest brother Tupai to stay close to Papa-tū-ā-nuku and help look after Rūaumoko. Other tribes believe he is grown up in the underworld and resides with some of the siblings who were angry with Tāne such as Whiro. In this version he is grown up and lives with the family of subterranean fire, connected to Mahuika, the goddess of fire. Therefore, the Māori perception of volcanoes is viewed from different ways. Firstly, volcanoes are beneficial to humans because it provides new life and fertility coming from the womb of the mother, and Rūaumoko is merely playing around. A different perspective is that Rūaumoko is helping to exact the revenge of Whiro and other members of the family Tāne had disputes with. As humans descend from Tāne, the fight with the grown up Rūaumoko continues forever.

The Logo

The central aspect of the volcano is the koru (fern frond), which symbolises the birth and eternal life of Rūaumoko. The other fern fronds either side relate to the connection with Papa-tū-ā-nuku. On top of the volcano is a slightly different coloured peak, which represents the relatively small amount of knowledge we currently hold, which we endeavour to solve as part of the conference. The plume on top again symbolises the regenerative nature of volcanic ash, de-emphasising the hazardous impacts because over long periods, volcanic ash is demonstrably beneficial. Finally, the three sound-like waves to the left of the volcano symbolise the power and signal that eruptions produce. 



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                     Conference Organiser  
                 Conferences & Events Ltd

                    Conference Manager: Amy Abel
                             Tel: +64  4 384 1511

This event is organised by Conferences & Events Ltd, Wellington, Auckland, Nelson & Nationwide.  We are a New Zealand business.