What happens on the marae at Te Papa

All peoples have a right to connect with this marae – Rongomaraeroa. As a fully functional marae, it is through an understanding of whakapapa and the shared responsibility of taonga held at Te Papa, it has many functions.

Everyone can feel welcome to Rongomaraeroa and it is generally open during standard museum hours for manuhiri to engage with via signage, free tours, and online resources.

However, Rongomaraeroa also operates as a functional marae which is a site to conduct Māori ceremonies of welcome and acknowledgement in accordance to marae kawa and tikanga. This means at times there is limited access to these spaces for health and cultural safety reasons.  

Rongomaraeroa is a functional area within the museum where people meet, discuss, and debate, as well as celebrate. It also operate as a contemporary expression of Māori cultural values and artistic excellence within its museum context.

Here are some examples of the many roles and functions Rongomaraeroa provides Te Papa:

  • Pōwhiri – formal welcoming ceremony where various entrance points are activated on the marae

  • Repatriation of kōiwi tangata, kōimi tangata/kōimi tchakat and/or taonga

  • A place to share mātauranga Māori and manaakitanga

  • A place ofMaumahara

  • A site to recognise key events such as Matariki

  • Acknowledgement ceremonies for new acquisitions

  • A platform for kōrero and debate

  • Recognition of key events such as Matariki

  • A place for learning and development

  • Entertainment, such as Public Programing events

  • School holiday programme events for whānau

  • An open place to sit and collect your thoughts.

Past events on Rongomaraeroa

Kahu Ropata offering a karakia at the dawn Whāngai i te Hautapu ceremony held on Rongomaraeroa for the first Matariki public holiday in 2022. Watch the highlights.
Photo by Erica Sinclair. Te Papa (206537)    

Tūpuna and taonga arrive home. The iwi delegation arrives on to the marae ātea, carrying the tūpuna and karāpuna through and the waharoa and Ranginui doors at the 2022 Austrian repatriation pōwhiri. Photo by Te Papa (216933)

Taonga returned to their homes. Te Papa Kaihautū Arapata Hakiwai speaks at the ceremony to return the ‘ahu ‘ula and mahiole, 2016. The cloak lies flat while a replica is draped on a mannequin. Photo by Te Papa

Matariki performance by Te Kahureremoa Taumata for young children, 2016. Photo by Kate Whitley. Te Papa (18272)    

A block from the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt at the pōwhiri on Rongomaraeroa, 2011. Photo by Michael Hall. Te Papa (33034)

The presentation of Le Lau Ta’amu Tafea, a sacred ‘ie toga (fine mat) by His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi (Former Head of State of Sāmoa) to Te Papa in 2020. Photo by Maarten Holl. Te Papa (150325)    

Learning demonstration about taonga for Te Kura O Manutuke (school from Manutuke). Photo by Jo Moore. Te Papa (114135)

Sir Peter Snell is gifted a manaia by Moana Parata at a pōwhiri 2017 when he donated some of his significant sport-related items in 2017, Photo by Te Papa

Children interacting with the kōhatu mauri on Rongomaraeroa. Photograph by Michael Hall. Te Papa

Tamariki telling a story through haka on Rongomaraeroa. Photograph by Norm Heke, Te Papa

We even had a live Lotto draw on our Opening Day in 1998. Cheryll Southeran and Cliff Whiting are pictured with the Lotto presenters.
Photograph by Michael Hall. Te Papa (109943)