The Maori people have always had a strong spiritual belief. Before the start of the main powhiri, each side should say an inoi, asking for guidance to ensure nothing goes wrong.
Normally the manuhiri wait at the tomokanga (gate entrance) of the marae with women and children flanked closely by the men. This indicates to the tangata whenua that they are ready.
The tangata whenua group wait in front or at the side of the marae. As many of the tangata whenua as possible should do this as an expression of their welcome.