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No. 19 (August 1957)
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PROVERBIAL AND POPULAR SAYINGS OF THE
MAORI

NGA WHAKATAUKI ME NGA PEPEHA
MAORI

Kotahi te kohao o te ngira e kuhuna ai te miro ma, te miro pango, te miro whero.”

Ko tenei korero na Kingi Potatau. I te tau 1858, ka tu tetahi hui nui ki Ngaruawahia, ara he whakawahi i a Potatau hei Kingi Maori. Na Wiremu Tamehana Tarapipi a ia i whakawahi. I reira ka tu a Te Heuheu, te rangatira nui o Ngati-Tuwharetoa, ka ki a ia: “Potatau, i tenei ra, ka whakawahingia koe e ahau kei Kingi mo te iwi Maori. Ka kotahi korua ko Kuini Wikitoria. Ko te haahi o Te Karaiti hei uhi hei tiaki i a koe; ko te ture whenua hei whariki mo o waewae mo ake tonu atu.” Ka whakahokingia e Potatau: “Kotahi te kohao o te ngira e kuhuna ai te miro ma, te miro pango, te miro whero. I muri nei kia mau ki te aroha, ki te ture, me te Whakapono.”

Ka pai te korero nei. No enei tau tata ka pahure ake nei, ka kitea ai, e 35 nga momo haahi kei waenganui i te iwi Maori, na ahakoa te maha o enei karangarangatanga, kotahi unga atu, ara ko te Atua. Ko te ngira, ko te Atua. Ko nga miro, ko nga tangata katoa o te ao, ahakoa pehea te ahua. Na reira kahore e tika kia whakahaweatia e tetahi te Whakapono o tetahi. Tukuna nga waka o te Whakapono kia tere. E hoe tena i tona waka, i tona waka. Kia kotahi he taunga ara ko te Atua.

Nga uri o Kiki, whakamaroke rakau.”

Ko Kiki he tohunga no Waikato i mohio whanuitia i nga rohe katoa o Tainui. Mona te whakatauaki nei, a mo ona uri hoki. E ai ki nga korero, ka maroke i a ia te rakau, a ki te whakatata te ope taua ki tona kainga, ka mutu noa tana he titiro atu i roto i tana whare ki taua ope, ka mate te katoa. He maha nga korero mo tenei tohunga

 

There is but one eye of a needle, through which white, black and red cotton are threaded.”

This is comparatively modern and was quoted by Kingi Potatau the first Maori King. In the year 1858, a large gathering assembled at Ngaruawahia for the religious ceremony of proclaiming Potatau as King. The rite was performed by Wiremu Tamehana Tarapipi. Present at the ceremony was the high chief of the Tuwharetoa Tribe, Te Heuheu, who during the course of his oration said: “Potatau, today I anoint you kingi for the Maori people. You and Queen Victoria are today united. Let the religion of Jesus be your mantle to protect you; and may the laws of the land be the mat on which to place your feet for ever.” To this, Potatau replied: “There is but one eye of a needle, through which white, black and red cotton are threaded. Hereafter, hold fast to charity, uphold the laws and be firm in the Faith.”

In recent years a survey revealed that 35 various Church denominations exist amongst the Maori people, but in spite of these many divisions, there is but one Person to which all pay their allegiance, namely God.

We who live in a so-called Christian land, should allow our various beliefs to continue, on the understanding however, that our main aim is to lead one another to God. The primary object of a needle is to sew, and in the words of the present Bishop of Aotearoa (The Rt. Rev. W. N. Panapa), let us all sew all Churches, all tribes and indeed everyone together, and eventually to God.

The descendants of Kiki, cause trees to wither.”

Kiki was a famous Waikato chief noted especially for his mastery of ‘tohungaism’ or the practice of casting a spell on others. It is said that during his day, he could with his supernatural powers, approached his village, all he had to do was cause a tree to die, and that when a war party appear at the doorway, recite an incantation and all in the party would die. Hence this well known saying throughout the Waikato territory which clearly indicates his special powers in this respect.

 
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rongonui, a kati, me waiho ki te whakatauaki mona, ara, “Nga uri o Kiki, whakamaroke rakau.”

Te Ati-awa o runga o te rangi.”

Ko Tamarau-te-heketanga-a-rangi te tupuna o te Ati-Awa. I heke mai tenei tupuna i te rangi, a i tona taenga mai ki te whenua nei, tera tetahi wahine ko Rongo-ue-roa, kei te awa e horoi ana i tana tamaiti, a kua makere katoa nga kakahu o te wahine nei. Ka whakatata atu a Tamarau ki te wahine nei, otira, kahore a ia i kitea mai. No te tuohutanga ano o te wahine ra, ka kite a ia i te ata o Tamarau i roto i te wai.

Ka pa mai te mataku ki te wahine ra, a, no tona huringa ki muri, na e tu ana he tangata tauhou. Ka rere atu a Tamarau ki te awhi i a ia. I mua tata atu i te haerenga o Tamarau, ka ki atu ia ki te wahine ra: “Ki te whanau mai koe, he tamatane, me tapa tona ingoa ki a Te Awa-nui-a-rangi, mo te awa i heke mai ai ahau i te rangi.” Koia nei te putake mai o te whakatauaki nei mo te Ati-Awa, “Te Atiawa o runga i te rangi.”

Rauru ki tahi.”

Ko Rauru he tama na Toi. Ko ta Ngapuhi korero, ko te tupuna tenei o te iwi mohio ki te whakairo. Koia nei pea te tupuna o te iwi nei, Nga-Rauru o Patea me era takiwa o roto o Taranaki. Na ko te tikanga o te whakatauaki nei, e ai ki nga korero, ki te puta mai ana he korero i taua rangatira i a Rauru, kahore rawa e taea e tetahi te whakahe. Ko tana e korero ai, me rite ka tika. He rangatira mana te reo, nga tikanga, nga korero, na reira te whakatauaki nei mona; “Rauru ki tahi”, ara “Rauru, korero (kupu ranei) tahi.”

 

It could well be used for anyone expert in any particular field, for the term “tohunga” generally means “an expert.”

Te Ati-Awa descended from the sky.”

The writer understands that the present Minister of Maori Affairs, the Hon. E. B. Corbett, is a member of the Ati-Awa Tribe in the Waitara district. In view of his pending retirement, perhaps it is fitting that this saying be quoted at this time.

Tamarau-te-heketanga-a-rangi was, according to some authorities the ancestor of the Ati-Awa Tribe. He descended from heaven, and on landing, was pleased to see an attractive lady, Rongoue-roa, bathing her child at a stream. Rongo herself was uncovered. Tamarau approached the lady, but the latter could not see him. It was not until she peered into the water, that she noticed a reflection of a man. This terrified her, and when she looked around to enquire, Tamarau went forward and embraced her. Before his departure, Tamarau suggested that should she ever give birth to a son, she was to name him “Te Awa-nui-a-Rangi”, after the stream at which he had landed after his descent from heaven. Hence the origin of the saying “Te Ati-Awa descended from the sky or heaven.” If there is any truth in this story, then the Ati-Awa people can claim to be the sons and daughters of Heaven.

Rauru of one word.”

Rauru was the son of Toi. The Ngapuhi people claim that Rauru was the ancestor of the experts at carving. It is most probable and possible that Rauru was the ancestor of the tribe now residing at Patea in the Taranaki district which bears the name: Nga-Rauru. Very little is known of him, except that he was a man of few words, and what he said, had to be obeyed. When Rauru decided on a course of action, nothing could turn him from it, and his word was implicitly to be relied on.