BronnyNZ: Connect to 'the ancestors' in meditations at these stone structures. It is said that the spirit of the ancestors are contained in the vibrations of the rocks... and if you're willing, the ancestors will speak to you straight into your heart. I guess that's what the person is doing in the photo above when they're leaning in to the rock like that... stilling their own Being and coming into a quiet place so they can 'hear' : )
This is very similar to my experience recently on the hikoi when we stayed at the Turangi marae... and I had a very strong and unexpected connection with one of the tupuna : )
hikoi = protest march (walking) or journey (by car, bus, etc) from one part of New Zealand to a destination point - usually to Parliament in Wellington. The hikoi will usually culminate with many thousands of people demonstrating an issue on Parliament grounds. I went on a hikoi recently 29 April - 8 May 2012. This was to demonstrate the current government deciding to sell off NZ's energy infrastructure - dams, power plants, coal mines, etc. - on the public Stock Exchange !!! (up to 49%). How stupid is that ???
Turangi = a small town in Central North Island very close to Mount Ruapehu, a ski destination
marae = an area designated and set aside for special communal use on Maori ancestral or tribal homeland. Most Maori ancestral homelands were seized by European/ British when NZ was settled during the 1800's. Each tribal homeland (turangawaewae) will have a separate area for communal meetings and celebrations. This is called the 'marae'.
People travelled with the hikoi for a day or many days, as much time as they can take off work, etc. There are usually demonstration marches in many towns along the way. This brings the issue to the attention of the media in all the small towns the hikoi passes through. We had police escorts front and back for much of the 600km journey to ensure the safety of everyone. Other people also travelling on the road became very aware of the hikoi.
Entrance to a marae ~ the Ornate decoration. The wharenui is the centre building. Most of them are this sort of shape with a verandah, a front door and a window on the right (most often).
The marae of modern times is usually an area of land of maybe 1-2 acres in size. On this are various buildings... a wharenui which is the big communal meeting and sleeping house, a wharekai which is where you eat food (no food or drink is taken into the wharenui), ablution/ toilet and shower blocks. Sometimes there are other buildings, eg: boat sheds for waka (maori canoe), additional large undecorated halls for kapahaka practice (maori action songs and fierce warrior's chants) and so on, to fit for the needs of the people of that particular marae.
The "powhiri" or 'official welcome' is a very important process that needs to be done, before visitors are welcome to participate in activities on the marae. Sometimes the visitors are led inside the wharenui straight away, depending on what the weather is like. The carvings inside the wharenui usually depict the ancestors of the marae. There are usually photos on the walls of people who have passed away belonging to that marae.
The wharenui is symbolic of the womb of the Mother. There is quite a process of speeches, songs and various greetings of the 'home people' to the 'travelling people' before you are allowed to go into the wharenui. It takes about 1 - 1.5 hours to do the whole 'greeting' ceremony or powhiri correctly. You then will be welcomed into the wharenui (womb). There is beautiful Maori art outside and inside the wharenui and in many wharenui you will find pictures and photos of people from that marae who have passed over. Sometimes, a person (descendant or visitor) might 'hear' the voice of a person who has passed on, in their mind/ thoughts. This is much the same concept of what happens at the Dolmens in Russia. A contact with such an ancestor happened to me at Turangi.
I will write more when the time is right about the tupuna who 'spoke' to me and showed me many things about his own time and the time we are living in now. He has sent up many prayers on the smoke of his sacred fires for these times. He had 'no solutions' during his time, he told me... so he spent many many days in prayer - in trust that his prayers would bring about peace on our lands and peace between all the peoples who would end up living in New Zealand-Aotearoa.
tupuna = the ancestors/ especially in reference to the 'wise people', who have passed on.