New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern greets Maori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi before sworn in 53rd Parliament
The ‘Hongi’ is a traditional Maori greeting in New Zealand used by the Maori people. To hongi you press your nose and forehead together with the nose and forehead of the person you are greeting. Many people of Maori decent prefer to hongi, instead of shaking hands.
The origins of the hongi can be traced back in Maori folklore to the creation of mankind. The first woman created by the gods was Hineahuone, “earth formed woman” so called as she was shaped out of the earth. The god Tane embraced Hineahuone and breathed life into her nostrils.
When Māori greet one another by pressing noses, the tradition of sharing the breath of life is considered to have come directly from the gods. Through the exchange of this physical greeting, one is no longer considered manuhiri (“a visitor”) but rather tangata whenua, “one of the people of the land”.