A whare whakairo
(literally "carved house"), is described in English as a Māori
Also called a wharenui
(literally "big house") or whare rūnanga
("meeting house"), the present form of these houses is said to have originated in the early to middle nineteenth century in Aotearoa
(Māori for New Zealand
). Originally, these houses were carved inside and out with stylized images of the iwi
's (or tribe's) ancestors, but the style used for the carvings varied from tribe to tribe. While there are many carved houses still in existence (and indeed, they are still being made), many modern meeting houses are built using "normal building standards" and photographs of ancestors may be used instead of carvings. The houses always have names, sometimes the name of a famous ancestor or sometimes a figure from Māori mythology. Some meeting houses are built where many Māori are present, even though it is not the location of a tribe; typically, a college or school with many Māori students. While a meeting house is considered sacred, it is not a church or house of worship, but religious rituals may take place in front of or inside a meeting house. No food may be taken into a Māori meeting house.otherwise known as a marae.
A Meeting House
These meeting houses are the center of any cultural, business, or any affair which is relevant to the iwi
as a whole.
- Typically, visitors to the village would be allowed to stay in the meeting house at night.
- Ceremonial occasions, including wedding and funeral typically take place in the meeting house or on the marae in front of the house.
- Strict rules of conduct govern the use of the wharenui, which is considered the domain of unity and peace. If anyone should become irate or physically violent, they would be asked to leave the house until they can control their temper.
- This picture is the opening of Te Wheke Hall in December 30,1901.
- The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois has an original Māori meeting house, called Ruatepupuke II as shown in this photo
- The British Museum has a large collection of Māori art.