e aha te kai o te rangatira, he kōrero.
This is a famous whakataukī (proverb) amongst the Māori people. It explains that the food of the chiefs is speaking. It describes how Māori can find nourishment in their learning and understanding of new concepts through speaking aloud with each other.
On the marae, there are many opportunities for Māori to work in collaborative situations through wānanga (group discussions) to analyse issues of the day.
In more formal occasions, Māori males show their oratory skills through whai kōrero (formal speeches) at pōwhiri (rituals of encounter ceremony) where first time visitors are welcomed onto the marae (traditional meeting place). In these situations, the tangata whenua (traditional hosts) welcome the visitors tīpuna (ancestors) and make links to their whakapapa (genealogy).
The experience is very spiritual and emotional for people who have never been on the marae before. Oprah Winfrey thoroughly enjoyed herself when she came to Aotearoa last year and visited the marae Tumutumu whenua at Orakei, Tāmakimakaurau (Auckland).
Nā Teariki rāua ko Nate
– By Nathan Riki