Tahuwhakatiki Marae (Rōmai) has introduced some new practices in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new practices were put in place last week before several different groups visited the marae and were on display during a visit by Te Akau ki Pāpāmoa School on Monday.
The marae has modified practices that involve touching or close contact, including the hongi, hugs and harirū.
It was decided by kaumātua at Tahuwhakatiki Marae that those greetings would not be practised during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Instead, kaumātua came up with a new way to welcome manuhiri onto the marae during a pōhiri.
As a pōhiri reaches its end – after the karanga, karakia, mihi and waiata – the guests line up across the field in front of the wharenui, facing the tangata whenua.
On the command of “tihei mauri ora!” both groups bow their heads toward each other.
Then, on the command of “tihei mauri tau!” the groups bow their heads toward each other again, and at the same time sweep their arms outwards from the middle. This signifies the end of the pōhiri, but the beginning of the relationship.
John Ohia, Chair of Tahuwhakatiki Marae Trust, said the Covid-19 pandemic was being taken seriously by the whole world and the marae had to do everything it could in its power to help prevent the spread.
“Tikanga has to adapt,” he said.
Erana Brewerton, general manager of Ngā Pōtiki, encouraged whānau and the broader community to follow the guidance and advice being provided by the Government.
“We all have a collective responsibility to look after each other and slow the spread. We are encouraging whānau to check the new Government website for information and follow the guidance provided at www.covid19.govt.nz.”
Update: At an urgent meeting held on March 21, marae trustees and kaumātua at Tahuwhakatiki Marae (Rōmai), Te Whetū-o-Te-Rangi Marae and Mangatawa Marae (Tamapahore) decided unanimously to temporarily close all three marae from March 23, for a month, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. These temporary closures will be reviewed on April 22.