Wairua

(noun) spirit, soul – spirit of a person which exists beyond death. It is the non-physical spirit, distinct from the body and the mauri (life force). To some, the wairua resides in the heart or mind of someone while others believe it is part of the whole person and is not located at any particular part of the body. Some believe that all animate and inanimate things have a whakapapa and a wairua. During life, the wairua may leave the body for brief periods during dreams. The wairua has the power to warn the individual of impending danger through visions and dreams. On death the wairua becomes tapu. It is believed to remain with or near the body and speeches are addressed to the person and the wairua of that person encouraging it on its way to Te Pō. Eventually the wairua departs to join other wairua in Te Pō, the world of the departed spirits, or to Hawaiki, the ancestral homeland. The spirit travels to Te Reinga where it descends to Te Pō. Wairua of the dead that linger on earth are called kēhua. During important occasions the wairua is summoned to return to the marae.