A hongi is a 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.

It is used at traditional meetings among Māori people and on major ceremonies and serves a similar purpose to a formal handshake in modern western culture, and indeed a hongi is often used in conjunction with one.

In the hongi, the ha (or breath of life), is exchanged and intermingled.

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. For the remainder of one's stay one is obliged to share in all the duties and responsibilities of the home people. In earlier times, this may have meant bearing arms in times of war, or tending crops, such as kumara (sweet potato).

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.

In Māori folklore, woman was created by the gods moulding her shape out of the earth. The god Tāne (meaning male) embraced the figure and breathed into her nostrils. She then sneezed and came to life. Her name was Hineahuone (earth formed woman).

Read more about Hongi:  Examples

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... were killed, including Pokaia, father of Heke and Te Houawe, older brother of Hongi Hika ... Hongi's sister Waitapu was also killed and her body desecrated, all it is said as part of helping Hongi to escape to carry on in name and deed, the family ... Hongi named one of his muskets Te Teke Tanumia to commemorate his sister's terrible death she was slit open from the genital region and filled with sand ...