Symbolic action

Visitor to Waitangi Marae responds to the wero (challenge) by bending to pick up the taki (in this case a branch) indicating to the people of the marae that his party comes in peace. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Picking up the Taki; an indication that the visitor to this marae comes with peaceful intentions. Image; Su Leslie, 2017

Visiting a marae (Maori meeting ground) begins with a highly symbolic welcome ceremony. As part of that, a young man of the iwi (tribal group) to which the marae belongs will issue a challenge (wero) to the visiting party.

The challenge involves a symbolic demonstration of the iwi’s fighting prowess in the form of the young man and his weapon. It is asking the visitors “do you come here with peaceful intentions?”

A representative of the visiting group (usually a man) accepts the challenge by picking up the taki — a symbolic object which in many cases is a branch (think olive branch in terms of symbolism).

After that the group is welcomed onto the marae.


Visitors, in this case a bride and groom, being welcomed onto the Te Tii Waitangi Marae at Waitangi, Northland, NZ. Su Leslie 2017

You can find out more about this powhiri (welcome process) here.

Posted to Debbie’s One Word Sunday at Travel with Intent



43 thoughts on “Symbolic action

  1. Wow! This is so cool! Never heard of this welcome ceremony and think it´s just awesome! Your pics are wonderful – I actually would have run away from the guy in the first pic! Which would be a pity because when he smiles he´s rather handsome. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d love to see this. It’s interesting that you chose today to share this as we’ve been watching the Rugby Sevens Championships this weekend, taking place in San Francisco and this reminds me of the haka. Unfortunately, the NZ sevens apparently don’t do the haka, which I love, love, love and makes me smile every time I see it. But there’s a wonderful ad interspersing the haka with things like volcanoes, thunderstorms, etc. I wish I could find it online to share, as it’s just perfect.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find the Kiwi culture vibrant and colorful. Maori art and their colors…their culture and ethnicity plus painted faces all tell their stories. I hope you do a post on the wedding. I am sure it will be a great read. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Sugar – Travel with Intent

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