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No. 11 (July 1955)
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PROVERBIAL AND POPULAR SAYINGS OF THE
MAORI

NGA WHAKATAUAKI ME NGA PEPEHA A
TE MAORI

E tukua atu ana enei korero a nga tipuna ki te ropu rangatahi e kokuhu nei tena tena i te ururuatanga o te Ao Pakeha.

Na Kawana Hori Kerei i kohikohi haere enei pitopito korero i runga i tona manawapa kei ngaro te reo Maori, na mei kore hoki e whakakoa i te ngakau o nga whakatipuranga o muri nei.

Ko te tohungatanga tenei o te reo o nga tipuna, haere tahi ai te korero me te whakamarama, ara, ka pepeha te tangata e tika ana ra me hoatu ano te pane me te hiku o te korero.

E penei ana te hoatu i nga mea nei, engari ko etahi o nga whakamarama kua ngaro, no reira ka inoi atu ki nga iwi ina ka mohio mai koutou ki te tikanga o te pepeha o te whakatauaki ranei, kia tukuna mai nga whakamarama ki te Etita o Te Ao Hou. Tena koutou, ina ra te wahanga tuatahi o nga taonga nei:—

1

Engari tena, te tutanga te unuhia.

Tera tetahi kaumatua me tana tamahine, he wahine puhi, he ataahua hoki, he kotiro ngahau. Ka mea atu te matua ki a ia, “E hine to tane ko mea, kia kai ai taua i te kumara.”

Ka rongo atu te kotiro ra i te matua e penei ana, ka kata ti hoihoi ka mea atu ia, “E koro, ki tau whenua rangatira ra pea.”

Ka mea atu ano te matua ki a ia. “Na, to tane ko mea, kia kai ai taua i te tuna.”

Heoi ano, kati rawa atu te kotiro ra ki te kata, ka mea atu ki te matua, “E koro, ki tau waipuke ra pea ia.”

Ka mea atu ano te matua, “Na to tane ko mea, kia kai ai taua i te ika.”

No konei ka takoto rawa te kotiro ki raro, kata ai, ki nga kupu atu a te matua ki a ia, ka mea, “E koro, ki tau marino.”

Ka mea atu ano te matua ki a ia, “Na, to tane ko mea, kia kai ai taua i te roi.”

Heoi ano, katahi ka maranga mai ki runga, ka mea atu te kotiro ki te matua, “Ae, engari tena, te tutanga, te unuhia.”

 

These sayings of our ancestors are written here for Maori youth that is attuning itself to the pakeha way of life.

It was Governor Sir George Grey who collected these fragments in his zeal to preserve the language, with the hope that later generations might find pleasure in turning to them.

They constitute the gems of our literature, and should be rewritten with all explanations, remembering it was customary to give a statement with its body, head and tail complete.

This is how these are presented, although, inevitably some explanations are lost, and should some of you who read these notes know something about these sayings, please write to the Editor, Te Ao Hou.

Greetings. Here then is the first instalment of these treasures.

1

Ah, that's better for there will be no intervals between our supplies of food, during which we should have nothing to eat.

There once lived a man and his daughter, who was a puhi, very beautiful and fond of fun. The father one day said to her, “My dear, let me suggest so and so as your husband, we'll then get plenty kumara.” When the maiden heard this, she laughed gaily and said, “Oh, dad, when the land is at peace.”

The father then suggested another: “Then we shall have plenty of eels.” But the girl laughed even more, and said, “Dad, will the floods be always with us?”

The father then said, “Let so and so be your husband, then we shall have fish in plenty.” On hearing this his daughter rolled on the ground chuckling with delight, and said to her father, “When the seas are calm, daddy.”

So finally the father said, “Let so and so be your husband, and then we shall have plenty of fern-root.”

On hearing this she stood up and said to her father, “Yes, indeed, that's better, for then there will be no intervals between our supplies of food, during which we shall have nothing to eat.”

 
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2.

He toa paheke, ko te rourou iti a Haere, ko te toa mahi kai, ko te tokanga nui a noho.

Mo te toa taua tenei pepeha:

3.

He paraki waha. He hawatewate. He titotito.

Mo te tangata horihori tenei.

4.

E rua tau ruru, E rua tau wehe, E rua tau mutu, E rua tau kai.

5.

Etae koutou ki uta, kei mau ki Tu, puhia he angina, e mau ki tai ki Noho, ma te huhu, e pepe hanehane.

Na Houmaitawhiti tenei korero ki ana tamariki kia Tamatekapua ma i te hekenga mai i Hawaiki i te tau toru rau rima tekau pea.

6.

E waru pu hoki, E waru pu tautahi.

Mo te kaute tenei, ara atu ano tona korero. “He pono he kuare ahau, engari koe he tino tangata, tonu ra pea, engari e matau ana ahau, te waru pu he tekau ma ono, pena me koe na; na ko te tekau ma ono me te kotahi he tekau ma whitu.”

7.

He koanga, tangata tahi, He ngahuru, puta noa.

8.

Kakariki tunua, Kakariki otaina.

Kei te mahara tonu au ki te korero a Te Taite Te Tomo. Tera tetahi ope no Tuhourangi, i patua kohurutia i te huarahi, katahi ka ngakia te mate nei ka ea. Ka patua te iwi kohuru ra, ka kainga etahi, ka mauherehere etahi. Ka ea te mate o Tuhourangi ka whakatauaki tona rangatira, “Kakariki tunua, Kakariki otaina.”

 
2.

The warrior often gets but the wanderer's scanty pittance, but the husbandman eats the industrious man's full and hearty meal.

This proverb is for a fighting party.

3.

He who talks till he splutters, is sure to tell some lies.

This is for the person known to tell many falsehoods.

4.

Two years of crops parched by heat, Two seasons when produce is scarce, Two seasons in which crops fail, Two seasons of abundance—prosperity comes at last.

5.

Go my children and when you reach land, do not take up the tikanga of Tu or War, but rather that of Noho, or dwelling in peace, and then the huhu shall undergo his change to the moth or pepe in your bones,—you will die a natural death.

This was Hou's advice to his sons, Tama and others when they left their island home about 1350 A.D.

6.

Twice eight are sixteen. Sixteen and one are seventeen.

This is for number, and a further application. “Oh, yes, I'm a fool, and you're a fine fellow, I dare say, but I know that twice eight are sixteen, as well as you do; or that sixteen and one are seventeen.”

7.

In planting (digging) time, friends to help you are scarce, when the crops are gathered, they come in shoals. Eat the little green parrots at once whether they are well done, or under-done.

Meaning, warriors on the warpath, have no time for dainty cooking.

Some city restaurants should read this. They're always at war.

I can still recall a story told to me by the late Taite Te Tomo. A Tuhourangi party was ambushed and murdered, and later this deed was squared off. The treacherous tribe was attacked and killed, some were eaten, others taken prisoner. The victorious Tuhourangi chieftain was known to have exclaimed: “Kakariki tunua Kakariki otaina.”