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Cultural Heritage and Protocols

One of the most valuable things you can take away from travel is knowledge. Gain a deeper understanding of cultural heritage and protocols when visiting a marae, the Maori meeting places.

As a manuhiri, or first time visitor to the marae, expect to be welcomed as an honoured guest. The protocol of welcome is a powhiri, recognising the coming together of two groups that are separated physically and spiritually. 

Discover the Cultural Heritage of Ceillhe, one of our Directors

Maori society is formed by iwi, or tribes, which are the largest groups. Iwis are made up or various hapu (clans or descent groups). 

Ceillhe Tewhare Teneti Hema Sperath is a direct descendant of 2 Maori chiefs that signed the Treaty of Waitangi – New Zealand’s founding document – on 6th February 1840. Her tribal nation grouping Ngapuhi is the largest in Aotearoa. All Ngapuhi of significance trace descent from a key ancestor, Rahiri and his first-born son, Uenuku and his second born son, Kaharau. Ceillhe traces descent from both Uenuku and Kaharau, famous fighting chiefs of Ngapuhi. 

Ceillhe's hapu are Ngati Hao and Ngati Hau. Ngati Hao provides her line of descent from the famous fighting chief, Patuone (c.1764-1872), the older brother of Tamati Waka Nene (c1770-1871). Ngati Hau provides her line of descent from another chief, Hautokowera the founding ancestor of Ngati Hau. Ceillhe is a great-great-great-great granddaughter of Patuone. 

In Maori terms, mana is a source of pride and identity. Mana is a powerful thing - a supernatural force in a person, place or object. Unlike other tribal nations which have distinct hierarchy, Ngapuhi is a nation of chiefly equals. Since all of the major chiefly lines of Ngapuhi trace descent from Rahiri, Uenuku and Kaharau, the mana of these chiefly lines is very powerful and none is subservient to any other.