Marae Kawa Unit Plan


Tena Ko....

......and welcome to the "Marae kawa" unit plan All of the resources on this sitese pages are designed to promote awareness and understanding of Te Imi Moriori and are based on the new curriculum document. The Moriori are the Tchakat Henu (tangata whenua, or people of the land) of Rekohu (the Chatham Islands). They have lived there for many hundreds of years and are the original inhabitants.

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Download the MSWord version of this unit plan Here>>>>>>


Marae Kawa: The kawa of Kopinga Marae

* * * * * * * Mega-Unit * * * * * * *

Years 4-6 Levels 2-3 Time: 5-6 weeks
o  Identity, Culture and Organisation:
Students learn about society and communities and how they function, about the diverse cultures and identities of people within those communities, and about the impact of these on the participation of groups and individuals.


o  Social Enquiry:
Through social inquiry, students ask questions, gather information, and examine the background to important societal ideas and events, explore and analyse values and perspectives relating to these ideas and events; and develop understandings about issues and the ways that people (themselves and others) make decisions and participate in social action. 
Through this process, and in a range of settings, students understand  that

o cultural practices vary but reflect similar purposes;

o people remember and record the past in different ways;

Additional Curriculum areas

 o English:

 Viewing: Purposes and Audiences:

  Presenting: Purposes and Audiences:

Identifies and understands how texts are constructed for a variety of intentions, situations, and levels of formality and for individuals or groups with varying characteristics and determinants, such as backgrounds, interests, and motivation.

Through deliberate choice of content, language, and text form, constructs a range of texts that demonstrate an awareness of a variety of intentions, situations, and levels of formality and of individuals or groups with varying characteristics and determinants, such as backgrounds, interests, and motivations.

Specific Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit,students will be able to:

  • Describe how a marae reflects Maori culture and heritage.
  • Describe how Kopinga Marae reflects Moriori culture and heritage.
  • Explain what happens on a Maori marae.
  • Explain what happens on a Moriori marae.
  • Conduct an Inquiry.
  • Construct and present a Power Point show demonstrating their abilities to use verbal and visual features to communicate ideas about marae protocol.


oNew Zealand   oRekohu (The Chatham Islands)   



o The Past (History)   o The Present (Current Issues)      

oThe Future.  o Multicultural   oIndigenous people             


Key Competencies Focus:

n relating to others

n using language, symbols, and texts.


Teaching and Learning Activities

Introduce the unit title "Te Kawa o Kopinga Marae", and discuss its meaning.

Starter activity
Read through sheet 1, (the marae)
and discuss the language and any new ideas that students may discover.



Maori Marae:

Students view sheet 1C (wharenui) and 1D (inside) or visit The marae complex in groups and discuss what they see.

During discussion, encourage students to come up with examples from their own experience. Think about language, customs, traditions, food, the arts - dance, music, art, buildings, place names, stories about the past, taonga.

Children draw pictures of these features to be displayed on the classroom wall under each word.


Moriori Marae:

Students research (using internet tools) everything that they can about the Moriori marae (Kopinga) and record their findings.

 Class discussion about these. (Suggested Google terms: Moriori, Kopinga marae, Chatham Islands) Teacher then displays sheets 3, (the opening),  3A, (the speech) and 3B (Taiko)

Students discuss and share what they know about Kopinga marae.

During discussions encourage students to think about language, customs, traditions, food, the arts - dance, music, art, buildings, place names, stories about the past, taonga.

Children draw pictures of these features to be displayed on the classroom wall under each word.

Model making
Divide the class into two halves and have one half (Tangata Whenua) make a set of characters - men, women and children - in traditional Maori costume.

Use card and back with velcro dots or blue-tac. These will be used for a moveable wall display for re-enacting the Powhiri (welcoming ceremony).

Get the second half (Tchakat Henu) to do the same for Moriori, using researched information from Michael Kings book, Moriori: A People Re-discovered, and any other sources that can be found.      

Group 1 then make a background scene of a marae including the meeting house, gates and seating for a  Powhiri. These items could also be moveable.    

Group 2 then create a background scene of what they think Kopinga Marae may look like, including the grounds, whare, and view.

In this task students will build up a word list on a chart on the wall.

Have them write all the Moriori words encountered in the course of the unit in one column, the Maori words in another and the English meanings in another, usually the central column.      

Provide students (in groups) with a photocopy of sheet 2A (differences) and ask them  to try and fill in the gaps on the sheets from their own knowledge. Allow time for discussion.      

Groups present their responses.     After this exercise teacher provides a copy of sheet 2 (Moriori-Re) to Tchakat Henu group and sheet 2B (Marae Reo) to the Tangata Whenua group.     Read through these language sheets and discuss any issues that arise from this new language.  

Talk about culture and heritage. (Culture:Understandings, patterns of behaviour, practices, and values shared by a group of people. Heritage:Ideas, material goods, or other resources that are the right of a person or groups of people by birth and are often passed down through the generations. )

As a class, discuss any aspects of similarity or difference between Maori and Moriori reo and tikanga.

Discuss why these differences may exist. (Use Thinking Hats if possible.)   

Meeting House Models
View a Maori marae online. See Parts of a Whare  

Make Sheets 1(the marae), 1C (wharenui) and 1D (inside) available for student to study. Create models of a maori meeting house, or the marae complex. ·Try and incorporate the backgrounds created earlier in the unit. ·         (Remember to try to keep things in proportion)   Draw a sketch plan of the meeting house and label the main features. Use a variety of materials (for example lego, cardboard, popsicle sticks, twigs) to create a model meeting house. Focus on colours, style and decorations.  

Each model will illustrate traditional: ·        

      • Design and structure ·       
      • Patterns ·        
      • Carving ·        
      • Colours  


Online/reference book search:      

In groups, research Kopinga Marae: Try contacting Hokotehi Moriori Trust for advice at or check out these pages: Kopinga Marae

Check out the official School Camps @ Kopinga Marae websie here>>>>>

Using the same processes used to create the Maori marae, construct a model of Kopinga marae. Be careful to keep to the known information.   Ask yourself what the differences are between Maori and Moriori designs, concepts and symbolism.

List these and then discuss the possible reasons for each.     

Marae Visit:

If possible, arrange a visit to a local Maori marae. Consider visiting Kopinga Marae.

Collect and record information

Before the visit: Student preparation

Discuss what some of the rules on a Marae might be and why.

Students to record these.


Marae Kawa
Read sheets 1A (Rules) and 1B (Maori Kawa). Talk about ways they are similar and different to rules at school.

Record information as drawings and notes.

Discuss possible differences that Moriori marae may have. Read sheet 1F (Kopinga) and 1G (Kopinga kawa), discuss again.

Remember, circumstances such as prevailing weather may have an impact on Kawa. Revise prior knowledge of protocol and language using co-operative activities such as Think/pair/share' on sheet 4B (thinking) and 'Donuts' on sheet 4A then use the ideas generated to make mindmaps: see sheet 4.

Introduce the Maori names of the two groups involved in a Marae visit Manuhiri (visitors) and Tangata whenua (hosts). Also discuss the Moriori variations to these titles (Manuwiri and Tchakat Henu)

Possible reasons for these variations? Discuss other variations between words in Te reo and Moriori reo.

Frame Questions

    • Prepare questions to ask about marae protocol during the marae visit, using 'where, when, who, why, what and how' sentence starters.
    • Prepare questions to find out how the meeting house reflects Maori culture and heritage (you could encourage questions about the design, stories, ancestors, traditions).


Read about Powhiri protocol on sheet 4C (The Powhiri) Create a flow chart of a Powhiri. See Sheet 4D Learn at least one Waiata. Contact local Maori leaders. .


Practise a Powhiri
      • Divide the class into visitors and hosts. (Manuhiri and Tangata whenua/Tchakat Henu)
      • Choose a speaker for each group and a caller. (Kai karanga)
      • Prepare seating.
      • Arrange both groups with boys at the front, girls behind.
      • Follow the procedure shown on the video.
      • Video tape the practice.


Re-enact Powhiri
Create a wall display using the cut-out moveable marae figures with velcro or blue tac on their backs. Use this to demonstrate/re-enact parts of the powhiri.

View video made of the Powhiri practice

Formative Assessment

      • Self evaluate using procedural lists created earlier in the flow charts
      • Plan improvements for a further practice.


Focus for your marae visit:        

What happens on a marae.

How the meeting house reflects Maori / Moriori culture and heritage  

During the visit

 Participate in the Powhiri.
 Ask questions and record replies.
 Participate in food preparation, eating, cleaning up if so organised.
 Collect and record information using the video and digital cameras (Ask for permission first)


SORT INFORMATION After the visit
Sort the information for a PowerPoint presentation - "What Happens on a

(For Powerpoint instructions see sheet 5)

Prepare a brief oral presentation to describe how the meeting house reflects Maori / Moriori culture and heritage. Give two examples and use models as part of the presentation. Practice the oral presentation in small groups.    C

OMMUNICATE FINDINGS Discuss ways to show appreciation and carry these out:

    • Letters or cards.
    • Photos of models.
    • Email.
    • Invitation to visit and view models and PowerPoint Presentations.


Show the Power Point presentation, and make oral presentations to:

    • Your class
    • Other classes
    • The Maori / Moriori community involved


(See Assessment Schedule Sheet 6)

Conduct an Inquiry that explains what happens on a marae. (See Sheet 7)
Describe how a meeting house reflects Moriori culture and heritage.

Individual students complete sheet 2A  Moriori Maori language differences

See Assessment Matrix Sheet 8



Adapted from a unit by Denise Gurran found here >>>> and here >>>>>

White Feathers movie

Tauroa, H. & P. Te Marae - A Guide to Customs and Protocol Heinemann Reed.

New Zealand History

New Zealand Herald Stories

 Ministry of Education, Wellington, New Zealand (First published 1998)

Rt. Hon Helen Clark's Speech   21/01/2005  

Press releases

An essential part of any learning about Moriori should involve using the following book as a research tool. To date this is the only publication with either any credibility or that has the approval of the Moriori people;

Moriori: A People Re-Discovered,  by Michael King 1999




All of the resources that you need are attached in the following drop-down box. Simply select the list item that matches the one that you are supposed to be doing (in the unit plan) and you will be taken to a web page containing that unit resource. On each page there will also be a link to an MSWord version to download, as well.

Unit Resources

The following drop-down menu contains links to all of the MSWord versions of each page of resources for the unit plan . There will also be a link to an MSWord version on each page to download, as well.

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Marae Kawa Resources unit plan

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