1. (noun) courtyard, public forum - open area in front of the wharenui where formal welcomes to visitors takes place and issues are debated. The marae ātea is the domain of Tūmatauenga, the atua of war and people, and is thus the appropriate place to raise contentious issue.
Kei te marae ātea te pōwhiri, he mahinga anō o te auahatanga o te ao i te wehenga o Papatūānuku rāua ko Ranginui (Te Ara 2011). / The pōwhiri takes place on the area in front of the meeting house and is a re-enactment of the creation of the world through the separation of Papatūānuku (Earth) and Ranginui (sky).
See also marae