In Aotearoa (New Zealand) and in the Field Museum, a marae stands for a community, or communities, coming together. In this ritual space, people can greet one another and communicate as equals. We think this model of gathering can benefit folks in any community (even if they have never considered themselves a community before!)
For those who are interested in a new way to foster meaningful conversations, curator John Terrell offers a Handbook for Hosting Marae Encounters. The handbook suggests encounter guidelines for use outside of Aotearoa.
You may hold a marae encounter to joyfully greet visitors and share common interests; or the encounter may be a tool for handling disagreements - or learning something entirely new from each other. If marae encounters and Chicago's marae here at the museum have inspired you and your community, please share your story with us!
He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!
What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people! It is people! It is people!
We recommend the following sources if you would like to learn more about marae encounters in Aotearoa:
Mead, Hirini Moko (2003). Tikanga Maori. Living by Maori Values. Wellington: Huia Publishers.
Salmond, Anne (2004). Hui. A Study of Maori Ceremonial Gatherings. Auckland: Reed.
Tauroa, Hiwi & Pat Tauroa (1986). Te Marae. A Guide to Customs & Protocol. Auckland: Reed.