• New Zealand Regions
      • Hawke's Bay
      • Bay of Plenty
      • Waikato
      • Whanganui
      • Manawatu
      • Northland
      • Auckland
      • Gisborne
      • Taranaki
      • Wellington
      • West Coast
      • Nelson
      • Canterbury
      • Otago
      • Marlborough
      • Southland
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      Hawke's Bay

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      Beaches, wineries and Art Deco. The Hawke's Bay has a diverse economy, including business services that support its sectors to be the second largest contributor to regional GDP in the country. A popular tourist destination, the region has some of the countries best restaurants as well as stunning scenery, markets and festivals.

      Districts

      HastingsNapier

      Bay of Plenty

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      The Bay of Plenty is officially New Zealand's sunniest destination, enjoying short-lived winters and long summer days. The Region offers some of the country's most spectacular views and many ways to enjoy the pristine scenery and natural wonders. Visitors also enjoy exploring the Bay's Māori heritage and pre-European roots.

      Districts

      OpotikiOpotiki iSiteKawerauWhakatane

      Waikato

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      The Waikato is known for its rolling plains, fertile land and the mighty Waikato River. The region is the fourth largest regional economy in New Zealand, with a strong focus on primary production and associated manufacturing.

      Districts

      South WaikatoWaikato District

      Whanganui

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      Welcome to Whanganui. This is our place; where history is full of stories, legends and rich legacy. Where a thriving arts scene, creativity and evolving culture inspire our modern lives. Where breath-taking natural landscapes capture imaginations at every turn.

      Manawatu

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      Located in the lower North Island, Manawatu is heartland New Zealand, offering an authentic Kiwi experience.

      The main in the region are Palmerston North, most notable for Massey University. Palmerston has a vibrant, arts and culture scene.

      The region's economy is based on food production and processing, research and education. The region is also home for the New Zealand defence force.

      Northland

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      Northland was originally home to some of our country's first human inhabitants. Today, it is one of the fastest growing regions in New Zealand and home to nearly 189,000 people. Rich in culture and history, the region boasts a stunning natural environment.

      Auckland

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      Auckland Region stretches from the the beaches of the Pacific Ocean in the east to the expansive beaches of the rugged west coast of the Tasman Sea. Auckland City, the largest urban area in New Zealand is considered the main economic center of New Zealand and a popular destination for international students and travellers.

      Gisborne

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      Gisborne is a Region on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island. It's known for wineries and surf beaches such as Makorori. The region has maintained a strong Maori heritage. The region's economy is made up mainly of agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

      Taranaki

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      Taranaki is a coastal and mountainous region on the western side of New Zealand's North Island. Its landscape is dominated by Mount Taranaki, its namesake volcano, which lies within the rainforested Egmont National Park.

      The port city of New Plymouth is the area's cultural and commercial hub. Taranaki's economy is diverse and includes dairy, oil and gas. The region is the highest contributor or national GDP per capita. 

      Wellington

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      The Wellington Region covers Wellington city in the south, Upper and Lower Hutt valleys to the north-east, and Porirua to the north-west. The region takes its name from Wellington, New Zealand's capital city.

      Wellington is famous for its arts and culture scene and is also the centre of New Zealand's film industry.

      West Coast

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      The West Coast, or as some locals call it, the "Wild West", is a long thin region that runs down the South Island's west coast.

      The region has the lowest population in all of New Zealand. It is famous for its rugged natural scenery such as the Pancake Rocks, the Blue Pools of Haast, and the glaciers.

      The main industries in the region are dairy farming and mining. Tourism also plays an important role.

      Nelson – Tasman

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      Nelson Tasman is an extraordinary, vibrant region where art and businesses thrive together among a stunning natural landscape. With one in five people internationally born, Nelson Tasman has 48 different cultures living in its environs.

      The region prides its self on being New Zealand’s leading Research and Development areas, with the highest proportion of people working in the research, science and tech sectors out of anywhere in New Zealand.

      Canterbury

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      Canterbury is a region on New Zealand’s South Island marked by grassy plains, clear lakes and snow-capped mountains. Its largest city, Christchurch, is famed for its art scene and green spaces.

      Otago

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      There are few places in the world which will leave you with a lasting sense of difference. Central Otago is undoubtedly one of them from its landscapes, its seasons, its people, its products and experiences.

      Marlborough

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      Marlborough Region is on the north-eastern corner of the South Island. The region is well known for its winemaking industry, and the Marlborough Sounds, an extensive network of coastal waterways, peninsulas and islands.

      Apart from the wine industry, aquaculture, agriculture and tourism play an important role in the local economy.

      Southland

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      Southland is New Zealand’s most southerly region and includes the World Heritage ranked Fiordland National Park.

      The region's only city Invercargill offers a relaxed pace of life with wide streets, little traffic, spacious parks and gardens, striking Victorian and Edwardian architecture and impressive sporting facilities including New Zealand’s first indoor velodrome. Southland's location is such that views of Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights are common.

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Marae: Meeting Grounds

A Place to Stand

A marae is a Maori meeting ground. It usually comes in the form of a fenced complex of carved buildings that belongs to a particular iwi, hapu or whanau. Marae come in different shapes and sizes but are a central part of Maori culture. The marae is a tribe’s turangawaewae or ‘place to stand’, their sacred property that brings the whole group together.
A marae will be the venue for meetings, celebrations, weddings, funerals and even educational workshops. Inside the marae, the carved meeting hall or wharenui will be the main area for these tribal events. They carve the wharenui to resemble parts of a human body, usually that of a tribal ancestor. The carved figure (tekoteko) on the roof at the front of the hall represents the head, and the front barge boards (maihi) show the arms outstretched to welcome visitors. Inside the wharenui, the walls a covered with carvings of stories and legends, with pictures hung of departed loved ones.
Outside of this meeting house will be an open space for outdoor gatherings, a dining hall for the iwi to eat together, a cooking area and toilets. A marae is less commonly used as a permanent living space these days. Still, in the event of a tribal meeting or celebration, it is not uncommon for the iwi to come together and stay communally for a few days in the main hall. With such an emphasis on community, the tribe will eat together, cook and clean as a unit and discuss tribal affairs.

Parts of the Marae

The marae and the meetinghouse are complementary and together serve as the focal point for community sentiment. The meetinghouse is normally the major central building and, in the main, ornately carved. The meetinghouse has many new names including tipuna whare and wharenui. In nearly all cases it is not only named after an ancestor but it is structured to represent symbolically the ancestor. Thus the tekoteko (carved figure) on the roof top in front represents the ancestor head, the maihi (carved angles from the head down towards the ground) represent the arms, the tahuhu or taahu (the ridge pole down the centre of the building) is seen as the backbone and the heke (rafters) reaching from the tahuhu to the poupou (carved figures around the walls) represent the ribs. The poupou are normally carved ancestors representing other tribes. Poupou then function as identifiers in a feeling of belonging. The uprights, normally two holding up the tahuhu, represent connection between Rangi, the sky father and Papatūānuku, the earth mother. While there are other interpretations it follows appropriately that the meeting houses are named after an ancestor. Thus, on entering the house it can be seen as entering into the bosom of an ancestor. It follows also that the interaction between people on the Marae-atea-o-Tumatuenga can be and should be significantly different from the type of interaction, which is normally encouraged inside the house. It is believed that inside the house of Rongo (the God of Peace) reigns and it is in this atmosphere and under this belief that people are required to interact with one another.

The Whare

The Whare Kai his the eating-house. The Whare Kai is a separate, not necessarily as a physical reality but in some cases as a concept or belief. The concept of tapu (sacrosanct) prescribes where food is eaten and where it cannot be eaten and also where drinks can and cannot be drunk. To the Māori, food is noa (a common element) and the opposite of tapu. Whereas the tipuna whare (meeting\/ancestral house) is tapu and food cannot therefore be eaten there, the whare kai is free from tapu – the two are at opposite ends of a continuum.

Other Buildings and Structures

Many marae have churches situated nearby. This is significant in terms of the acknowledgement of God as an ever-present dimension in the daily lives of people on the marae. Many marae also have an urupa (graveyard) nearby acknowledging the ancestor as a living dimension of life. An ancestor is commemorated within a building – respects are paid to those who have passed on the hono-i-wairua (gathering place of spirits) within a whaikorero (formal speech making) reflecting the belief in the merging of life and death that is significant and meaningful for the Māori. Te hunga ora (living people) are the result of a combination of te hunga mate (the dead) and te hunga ora. References to these concepts are very frequent in whaikorero. On some marae memorials to a significant ancestors or people who died in the Second World War are found to the side of the marae or wharenui and in some cases a flag pole stand majestically at the side of the meeting house. Last, but not least, the ablution block and toilets are placed significantly to the rear of the Wharenui and the Whare Kai.

Entering the Marae

If you are lucky enough to be invited to a marae as a guest, you must first be welcomed officially, in a ceremony known as powhiri. This welcome consists of many different phases but once completed; you will be allowed to enter the tribe’s space. Basic etiquette around a marae is always to be respectful and ask permission before taking photos. You should remove your shoes when entering buildings and don’t eat or drink in the wharenui. The powhiri is a ceremony that involves singing and dancing (like the famous haka), try to remain expressionless and receive the honour graciously.

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