Photographer's Note

In Māori society, the marae is a place where the culture can be celebrated, where the Māori language can be spoken, where intertribal obligations can be met, where customs can be explored and debated, where family occasions such as weddings and birthdays can be held, and where important ceremonies, such as welcoming visitors or farewelling the dead (tangihanga), can be performed. Like the related institutions of old Polynesia, the marae is a wāhi tapu, a 'sacred place' which carries great cultural meaning.
In Māori usage, marae is technically the enclosed space in front of a wharenui or meeting house (literally "big house"). However, it is generally used to refer to the whole complex, including the buildings and the open space.[

Te Arawa Marae- Rotorua
The carved figure at the apex of this house represents an ancestor. The huia feathers in his hair represent a chiefly status and the taiaha that he is holding in his hands shows that he was a warrior.
Te Arawa is a confederation of Māori iwi and hapu (tribes and sub-tribes) based in the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty areas of New Zealand, with a population of around 40,000.
The Te Arawa tribes have a close historical interest in the lakes around Rotorua. Many were killed in the Mt Tarawera eruption of 1886.
The iwi chose to negotiate directly with the New Zealand government over their historical grievances, bypassing the Waitangi Tribunal. A series of negotiations has resulted in several settlements of their various claims, the largest of which are the settlement relating to the 14 lakes, signed in December 2004[1], and the settlement for all the historical claims of a cluster of Te Arawa iwi and hapu signed on 30 September 2006. The Government apologised to Te Arawa for breaches of the Treaty, and paid $36 million in compensation, including up to 50,000 ha of Crown forest land, as well as 19 areas of special significance, including the Whakarewarewa Thermal Springs Reserve.

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Additional Photos by Klaudio Branko Dadich (daddo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3581 W: 114 N: 6346] (28696)
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