Aroha is a Maori term that goes back to Waitaha times. It might be translated as "unconditional love", and it stands for the utmost respect for fellow human beings. You can feel Aroha, when you are invited to enter a Marae. Rituals play an important part in Maori culture, as in the Powhiri, the welcome ceremony. After the challenge, exchange of speeches and Waiata (songs), the Hongi (touching of forehead and nose) signifies the sharing of the same air, the life force, and this seals the generous inclusion into the tribe.
A common ritual at gatherings is the use of the Tokutoku, or talking stick. Whoever holds the stick can speak whatever they want for however long they want. Holding the stick creates the space for everyone hearing each other. This is the prerequisite for peace.Everyone needs to have a say, and what everyone has to say needs to be validated, not necessarily be agreed with, but heard. In spaciousness there is place for everyone. There is no time pressure: "it takes as long as it takes." This is Aroha in action, and we are in the fortunate position in this country that this spirit of Aroha has been kept alive in an unbroken lineage of being passed on from generation to generation.