‘Hongi’ – The breath of life
Whangarei, New Zealand
HONGI is the traditional Māori greeting in New Zealand. It is done by pressing one’s nose and forehead (at the same time) to another person at an encounter.
During the hongi, the “ha”, or breath of life is exchanged and intermingled.
The breath of life is also considered the sharing of both parties’ souls.
Through the exchange of this physical greeting, one is no longer considered “manuhiri” visitor, but rather “tangata whenua”, one of the people of the land.
This image was painted on the Whangarei Police Station during International Street Art Festival – Street Prints Manaia. The theme of the festival was ‘Tuia te muka Tāngata’ or ‘Weaving the threads of Humanity’.