Story: Manners and social behaviour

The hongi

The hongi

At a formal Māori occasion, whether held on a marae or not, it is customary for visitors to shake hands and hongi with their hosts after the speeches of welcome. While shaking hands, the left hand of each person may be placed on the other's near shoulder. The head is bent, the eyes are lowered or closed, and noses are pressed together either once or twice. Here, Ireland rugby team captain Brian O'Driscoll (left) who was visiting New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup in 2011, and kaumatua Michael Skerett hongi at Queenstown Airport. O'Driscoll's stance and wide open eyes suggest his lack of familiarity with this aspect of protocol.

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Otago Daily Times
Photograph by Tracey Roxburgh

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Manners and social behaviour - A guide to modern New Zealand manners', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/39856/the-hongi (accessed 4 August 2020)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 5 Sep 2013