Normally a woman from the host side, Kai
Karanga calls first to indicate to the manuhiri to move forward on to the marae. This is normally answered by a woman´s response from
the manuhiri, Kai
Whakaatu. The purpose of the karanga is to
weave a spiritual rope to allow the waka of the manuhiri to be pulled on. It should never be broken and the
sound should be continuous, each side weaving in and out of each other. The
karanga also opens the tapu of Te Maraenui Atea o
Tumatauenga to allow safe passage across for the manuhiri. A wahine must never
karanga if she has her mate
wahine, or if she is hapu, for at those stages
of her life she is incapable of opening the tapu of
Te Maraenui Atea o Tumatauenga.
The karanga is not just a call of one person to another. It is a spiritual call that has been heard in Aotearoa for generations and generations and it provides the medium by which the living and the dead of the manuhiri may cross the physical space to unite with the living and the dead of the tangata whenua. It can also be an identifying call from the manuhiri indicating where the group has come from. At a tangihanga where groups follow one another this becomes more crucial.
The karanga awakens the emotions. It brings an awareness that what is happening is not just a simple act onto a marae - there is a presence of people, both physical and spiritual. The whole procedure of coming together is based upon a tradition that is as meaningful today as it is in the past.
The right to karanga is the sole domain of women as whare tangata gives them the ability to open the tapu of Te Maraenui Atea o Tumatauenga to allow safe passage across for the manuhiri. This can not be done by girls whose whare tangata has not yet awoken.Manuhiri Movement
While the host will stand during the karanga, the manuhiri move forward to the puku (centre) of the marae.