PROVERBIAL AND POPULAR SAYINGS OF THE MAORI
NGA WHAKATAUKI ME NGA PEPEHA MAORI
Kua tae mai te tono mai a “Te Ao Hou” ki ahau, kia tukuna atu ki a ia etahi o nga whakatauki i korerotia e ahau ki te reo irirangi i nga ra ki muri. Na reira, he ruarua nei nga whakatauki mo naianei. I whakaae ai ahau ki tana tono, he mohio noku ki te kore e whakarapopototia enei korero, ka ngaro me he Moa. He kupu whakamarama i te tuatahi. E ngawari ke ki ahau te whakahua “Whakatauki” i te “Whakatauaki” na reira ka whakahuangia e ahau te kupu tuatahi. Tuarua, ko nga whakatauki ka uru ki roto i ta tatou pukapuka, no nga iwi katoa, na reira, he tono atu tenei ki a koutou, mehemea kei te he nga whakamarama, nga korero ranei, koia nei te wa mo te whakatikatika, na, me tuku mai a koutou korero ki ahau ki Putiki. Wanganui, ki te Etita ranei o “Te Ao Hou.” Ko nga whakatauki nei ma a tatou tamariki, me kore ratou e kite i te pai o ta te Maori whakahua i te kupu, a, me kore ratou e ngakaunui ki te hopu, ki te manaaki, ki te atawhai, i nga maramara whakatauki a o tatou tupuna, kua waiho ake nei ki te whaiao, ki te ao marama.1.
“E kore ahau e ngaro, he kakano i ruia mai i Rangiatea.”
Ko tenei whakatauki no tenei waka no Aotea. Ko te iwi kei te pupuri tonu i tenei whakatauki mai i mua, tac noa mai ki tenei ra, ko Ngati Ruanui, a ko etahi hoki o nga karangaranga hapu o Ngarauru i roto o Taranaki. I mua i taku whakamaoritanga i tenei whakatauki ki te reo Maori o te ao hou, me whakamarama e ahau te tikanga o etahi o nga kupu o te whakatauki nei. Ko Rangiatea te ingoa toopu o nga moutcre c karangatia ana ki te reo pakeha ko te Society Group. Otira, ki te tirohia e te tangata ki nga mapi pakeha o nga moutere o te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, ka kitea iho te ingoa ehara i Rangiatea, engari Raiatea. Na te whakahua ki te reo o nga Maori o aua moutere i pera ai te takoto o te kupu, engari ia, kotahi tonu enei kupu e rua. Mehemea ki te hoki whakamuri rawa nga korero, ka kitea te timatanga mai o tenei ingoa. Rangiatea. Ki nga
The Proverbs presented here are among those discussed in my radio talks some time ago. I have agreed to publish them in Te Ao Hou knowing that if these sayings are not printed, they will disappear like the Moa. There are one or two explanations which I wish to make. I prefer the Maori word “Whakatauki” to “Whakatauaki” for the English word “Proverb,” hence I have used the former. Secondly, the proverbs which I have quoted, are taken from the sayings of the various tribes throughout New Zealand, and I make a special request to all readers to forward any explanations, comments or corrections either to me at Putiki, Wanganui, or to the Editor of Te Ao Hou. These proverbs are mainly for our young people in order that they may appreciate the methods by which our elders used these sayings, and in order that they may endeavour to preserve, hold and use the few remaining proverbs which our ancestors have bequeathed to this world of progress and light.1.
“I will not disappear, the seed broadcast from Rangiatea.”
This proverb originates from the Aotea canoe. The tribes which have used this proverb from its very beginning till now are the Ngati Ruanui, and some of the sub-tribes within the Ngarauru Tribe of Taranaki. Before I proceed to explain the modern meaning of this proverb, a few comments regarding some of the words used are necessary. Rangiatea is the name given to a group of islands known in the English as the Society Group. However, a search of a map of the islands in the Pacific Ocean reveals that the name Rangiatea does not appear, but that Raiatea is the name given. It is due to the pronunciation of the natives of those islands that the word appears as Raiatea, but Rangiatea and Raiatea are one and the same place. Should we refer to earlier history, the origin of the name Rangiatea can be easily traced. According to the ancient legends of our ancestors, Rangi married Papatuanuku with the result that they had several children. (Should
korero tawhito a o tatou tupuna, i moe a Rangi i a Papatuanuku. Ka puta he tinitini a raua uri. (Mehemea etahi o koutou e hiahia ana kia mohio ki te roanga atu o enei korero mo Rangi raua ko Papa, tirohia enei pukapuka: “Tuhoe” Nama rua, me “Te Maori” Nama tahi, nama rua. Ko enei pukapuka na te Peehi i tuhi). I taua wa i whanau ai a raua tamariki, e awhi a kiri tonu ana a Rangi raua ko Papa. No te wa i whakaae ai a raua tamariki me wehe raua, ka whakaaetia ma Tane-Mahuta raua e wehe. Na wehea ana raua e Tane-Mahuta. Koia tena ko Papatuanuku e takoto nei, ko Rangi e tu iho nei i te ao atea, watea, akea ranei ki tetahi whakahua o te kupu. Koia tena i karangatia ai ko Rangiatea. Na, mehemea e hoki mai ana nga korero ki te ao marama nei, he wahi tapu kei te moutere o Rangiatea ara Raiatea, koia hoki tenei ko te moutere i haerc mai ai a Turi me tona waka me Aotea i te Hekenga mai. I te mea kua whakamaramatia te ingoa nei a Rangiatea, me hoki aku whakamarama ki te tikanga o te whakatauki nei. Ko te tikanga o tenei whakatauki, ko te kaha, ko te pakari, ko te u o te kawai tangata, o te kauhau tupuna o tenei waka o Aotea. Otira, ki te whakahuatia ki te reo Maori o te ao hou, e penei ana: E kore toku mana, toku wehi e ngaro e pehia ranei e etahi atu mana, no te mea, ko toku mana, me toku wehi i mauria mai e oku tupuna i Hawaiki ra ano.2.
“Ta te tamariki, tana mahi he wawahi taha.”
I nga wa o mua, he taonga tino nui te taha, he taonga hei harihari wai. Na reira, ka ata tiakina nga taha o mua kei pakaru ka kore he taonga hei hari wai. Na, ko tenei whakatauki he kupu whakarite ki nga tamariki o tenei whakatupuranga. Kua takoto ke mai nga korero a o tatou matua me penei, me pera a tatou tamariki; tahuri ake nga tamariki o naianei, waiho ana nga korero a o tatou matua kia takoto, mahi ke ana i etahi atu mahi. Otira, kei te whakahe ahau, i te mea kei te taitamariki tonu ahau, ki nga kupu o te whakatauki nei. Ki toku nei whakaaro, na ke nga kupu mo te whakatauki nei: “Ta te tangata tana mahi, he wawahi taha,” i te mea, ehara i a tatou tamariki te he i kore ai ratou c whai i nga tikanga, i nga tohutohu, me nga korero a o tatou matua, cangri kei nga matua ano o nga tamariki te he. Kei te ngaro haere te reo Maori i roto i te rangatahi he kore e kaha no nga matua ki te ako i a ratou tamariki. Kei te ngaro nga tikanga Maori i te ngoikore o nga matua ki te ako i a ratou tamariki. Na reira i whakahe ai ahau ki tenei whakatauki. Kei te whakapaengia kei a taou tamariki te he; ko ahau e mea ana, kahore: kei nga matua ke te he!3.
“He tangata takahi manuhiri, he marae puehu.”
Ki te reo Maori o naianei, e penei ana te takoto o te whakatauki nei: Ki tekore te manuhiri e manaakitia, ka kino te marae. He ture tuturu tenei no te iwi Maori mai ra ano i nga wa o nehera, ara, kia mutu ra ano te manaaki i te manuhiri, katahi ano ka tahuri ki nga tangata o te
any reader wish to delve further into this history regarding Rangi and Papa, he is referred to these books: “Tuhoe,” Vol. 2, and “The Maori,” Vols. 1 and 2, by Best). At the time they begat children, Rangi and Papa were still united, and when their children agreed that they should be separated, Tane-Mahuta was the one appointed to do this, and so Tane separated his parents. Hence we have Papa-tuanuku (the earth) and Rangi above (the sky) and thus the name Rangiatea originated. Rangiatea is also a sacred spot and the place from which Turi, the captain of the Aotea canoe, came during the great migration. The modern meaning of this proverb is the strength, the power and the ability of the descendants of the ancestors from the Aotea canoe, and a free interpretation runs something like this: My prestige and my strength shall not fade nor be replaced, for such prestige and strength has been derived from my ancestors even from Hawaiki.2.
“All that the young people do, is to break the calabashes.”
During ancient days, calabashes were treasured articles, they being the only vessels available for carting water. Great care was taken lest damage be done to them. This proverb is meant as a charge against the youth of to-day. Our ancestors and elders in their day, left for the use of the generations of to-day, certain sayings and customs which the youth of the present have ignored. However, I do not personally agree with the sentiments expressed by this proverb. It would have been more correct had the proverb read: “All that man does is to break calabashes,” for I hold the view that the youth cannot entirely be blamed for the lack of showing interest in Maori customs and the like, but parents are equally at fault. The Maori language is fast disappearing amongst the youth of to-day, simply because parents fail to teach them. Our youth are blamed for this indifference, but the parents are more at fault.3.
“A person who shows disrespect (literally “trample”) to a guest, causes dust within the courtyard.”
This proverb is rarely used, but is meant to prove Maori hospitality. It has always been a Maori custom for guests to be entertained and fed before the hosts. For instance, it is not Maori etiquette for a host to sit down for a meal with his guest. The normal procedure is for the guest first to have his meal and then the host. It is immaterial whether the guest is a pauper or one of noble blood: and a host who ignores this custom disregards ancient Maori lore.4.
“Above is near, but below is far.”
Taharakau, a high-ranking chief of Gisborne, was responsible for uttering these famous words. Taharakau and a companion. Te Angiangi, left Gisborne on their way to Te Reinga, near Wairoa. Te Angiangi, before their departure, clothed himself with all his beautiful garments, whilst Taharakau busied himself wrapping up his garments. The morning they left Gisborne (walked),
kainga; ara, me penei—ko nga manuhiri ki mua i te tangata whenua. He ture pai tenei i tukuna mai ki a tatou e o tatou tupuna, engari inaianei, kei te ahua rereke nga whakahaere ki etahi o o tatou marae. Kua rite noa iho inaianei te manuhiri ki nga tangata whenua o etahi o o tatou marae, kua ngaro te ngakau whakanui i te manuhiri. Kia matua manaakitia te manuhiri, ahakoa he manuhiri iti, rahi ranei, katahi ano nga tangata o te marae ka ahei kia manaakitia.4.
“He tata a runga, he roa a raro.”
Ko tenei korero, na Taharakau, he rangatira no Turanga. I haere atu a Taharakau raua ko Te Angiangi i Turanga ki Te Reinga, wahi o Te Wairoa, Ka kakahu a Te Angiangi i ana kakahu papai katoa, a, taimaha ake ia i ana kakahu. Ko Taharakau, kei te aro ke a ia ki te pokai i etahi kakahu mona. Ko te ra e haere nei nga tokorua nei, he ra ataahua rawa atu. Katahi a Te Angiangi ka karanga atu ki tana hoa: “E Taha, hei aha ena ka mauria na e koe i te rangi ataahua, a, e whiti ana te ra?” Ka whakahokia e Taharakau: “He tata a runga, he roa a raro.” Heoi ano, ka haere nga tokorua nei, engari me te titiro whakahawea ano o Te Angiangi ki tana hoa, no te mea he rangatira hoki a Taharakau a kahore e tika ana kia pera te ahua o te haere a te rangatira. Ka tata haere atu raua ki te kainga e haeretia nei e raua, ara, ki Te Reinga, ka timata te karakia haere a Taharakau ki te wewete i nga kakahu i pokaingia ra c ia, ka uhingia e ia tetahi ki runga i a ia, ka herengia e ia tetahi pito ki tetahi pokohiwi, ko tetahi ki tetahi. Na wai ra, ka whakaheke te ua. Kihai i roa, ka maku katoa a Te Angiangi, ka timata te heke haere o te wai ki roto i a ia. Katahi a ia ka karanga atu ki a Taharakau: “E Taha e, homai ra etahi o kakahu ki ahau; kua maku katoa ahau, a kei te makariri ahau.” Ka whakahokia e Taharakau: “E! he! he! i ki atu ra hoki ahau ki a koe, he tata a runga he roa a raro.” Kahore i roa i muri mai, ka mutu te ua, ka whiti ano te ra.
was a beautiful one, with no signs of rain. Te Angiangi called out to his friend: “Taha! Why are you taking so much clothes on such a fine day as this?” To this, Taharakau replied: “Above is near, but below is far.” Eventually the two set off on their journey, but Te Angiangi could not understand why his friend had travelled thus without the proper robes of a chief. As they were approaching their destination, Taharakau began to chant an incantation, and before long, thunder was heard. Taharakau then began to unwrap his garments and clothed himself so thoroughly that there was no chance of his becoming wet. Presently heavy rain fell and before long, Te Angiangi was thoroughly wet, whereupon he called out to Taharakau: “Taha, give me some of your garments; I am thoroughly wet and am very cold.” In reply, Taharakau said: “Did not I tell you that ‘above is near, and below far away’?” Immediately after this, rain ceased and the weather continued to be fine. The moral of this proverb is that one should be fully prepared at all times for eventualities.