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- +Where do the Māori come from?
￼Aotearoa, ʻthe land of the long white cloud’, is also known as New Zealand. The country is located in the Southern Pacific Ocean and is roughly the same size as Great Britain. New Zealand consists of two main landmasses, the North and South Islands, as well as many other smaller islands, and it has a temperate climate. The Māori settled the islands more than seven hundred years ago when they travelled in double-hulled canoes (waka) from the distant tropical Central Pacific. Even today, the different Māori tribes are classified according to these waka. The crew of the Te Arawa waka arrived at the Bay of Plenty and settled on the North Island.
- +What is the use of a meeting house?
Meeting houses (wharenui) have great significance for public life in New Zealand. The houses are normally situated in open spaces and are surrounded by buildings containing dining halls, kitchens and washing facilities. This building complex (marae) constitutes the heart of a community. Guests are welcomed in the marae, talks are held, celebrations are enjoyed and important events are discussed; this is also where the living say farewell to the dead. Marae are traditionally built on the land of tribal groups. They are the reference point of the group’s identity and the architectural expression of their genealogy and cosmology. Today wharenui and marae are also located in schools and local authority buildings. Meetings in the marae are subject to very specific regulations with regard to seating arrangements and the course of the welcoming ceremonies.
- +Where does Rauru’s name come from?
- The meeting house is viewed as a living being, an ancestor who holds out his arms in welcome in the form of the maihi (bargeboards). If we look more closely, we see that the amo (upright front posts) of the veranda are his legs, the barge boards ending in openwork carving are called raparapa are his fingers and the koruru (mask) attached to the gable end is his face; the tāhuhu (ridge pole) is his backbone and the heke (rafters) are his ribs. When we enter a meeting house we are protected within the interior of an ancestor. This is a place of peace that may only be entered by relatives, friends and invited guests.
Every meeting house has its own name. The house in Hamburg is called Rauru. The ancestor Rauru has special significance for the Te Arawa. He is the son of Kuraimonoa and Toikairakau, and according to tradition he lived over thirty generations ago on the legendary Pacific homeland of the ancestors of the Māori. Rauru became a master of the carving arts, standing out from the other
- +What regulations are to be observed when we are inside Rauru?
Please treat this Māori meeting house with respect by
• Removing your footwear before entering
• Leaving all food (including chewing gum), drinks and cigarettes outside the house
• Treating the artworks inside with care: whakairo (carvings), turapa (woven panels) and whāriki (woven mats)
• Visitors of all ages are requested to behave in a respectful manner.