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No. 20 (November 1957)
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PROVERBIAL AND POPULAR SAYINGS OF THE
MAORI
NGA WHAKATAUKI ME NGA PEPEHA MAORI

Toi te Kupu, toi te mana, toi te whenua.

He maha nga korero o enei ra mo te take nei, mo te Maoritanga. Kei te korero tena tangata, tena tangata, tena iwi, tena, iwi, i o ratou nei whakaaro me pehea ka u ai te taonga nei, te Maoritanga. Ko te whakatauaki e whakahuatia i runga ake nei, no Whanganui, na tenei kaumatua rangatira o roto o te Awa, na Tinirau. Ko te kupu “toi”, me te mea nei, he whakarapopotonga no te kupu ra “toitu”. Na kei te takoto marama noa nga kupu nei. Ki te toitu te kupu, ara te reo Maori, ki te toitu te mana o te iwi Maori, ki te toitu te whenua, ka mau te Maoritangata. Otira me penei; ki te ngarao te reo Maori, ki te ngaro nga whenua Maori, ka ngaro te mana Maori. Ma enei mea e toru, e pupuri te Maoritanga. Ki te mate ana, ka mate te katoa.

Pikipiki motumotu ka hokia he whanaunga.

Kahore ahau e mohio, na tehea iwi tenei whakatauaki. Tera tetahi tangata ko Tama-ki-te-wananga tona ingoa. I a ia e tahu ana i tana ahi kia maoa ai ana kai, ka tuturi atu a ia ki mua, ka timata tana puhipuhi i te ahi kia tere wawe ai te maoa o nga kai. Tera tetahi atu tangata, ko Hauokai tona ingoa, he whanaunga no Tama. Ko te mahi a te tangata nei e tatari kia tata te maoa o nga kai a tana whanaunga a Tama, ka puta atu ki reira. Ka tahuri nei a Tama ki te puhipuhi i tana ahi, me tana karanga ano; “E mura, e mura, kei mau au i a Hauokai.” Rokohanga, kua uru ke mai a Hauokai ki roto i tana whare, a kei muri e tu mai ana e ata whakarongo ana ki nga korero amuamu a Tama. No te tahuritanga ake o Tama, e tu ana Hauokai. Ano ra ko Hauokai: “He aha taku mahi ki a koe, i kino ai koe ki ahau?” Ka whakahokia e Tama;” Kanui taku hoha ki a koe; tatari rawa koe kia maoa he kai, ka puta mai ai koe.” Ka ki atu a Hauokai: “I hokihoki mai ai ahau ki a koe, no te mea he whanaunga tata taua, otira, i te mea kua ki na koe na te kai i haere mai ahau ki a koe, e kore ano taua e tutaki a muri ake nei.” Ano ra ko Tama: “Pikipiki motumotu ka hokia he whanaunga.” He taunu na Tama ki tana whanaunga mona i tatari ai kia maoa he kai ka puta a ia ki te toro i ona whanaunga.

Ka pai te whakatauaki nei mo te taha Wairua. Kia taka ra ano te tangata ki te he, kia pa mai ra ano he pouritanga ranei katahi ano ka anga atu ki te wahi ngaro.

 

“The permanence of the language, prestige and land.”

The subject “Maoritanga” has received great publicity in recent times. A number of individuals and tribes have expressed their views as to how “Maoritanga” can be preserved. The above proverb, was quoted by Tinirau, a noted chief of the Wanganui district. The burden of the proverb is to stress the fact that without the Maori language, without prestige and without land, “Maoritanga” will cease to exist. These three…language, prestige and land…are the main means of preserving “Maoritanga”. Without these, Maori culture will be a thing of the past.

“One constantly in attendance, will be revisited by relatives.”

I have no knowledge as to which tribe this proverb belongs. The origin however is revealed in this episode. Tama ki te Wananga, was busy lighting his fire and in order to hasten the cooking of the food which he prepared, knelt before the fire and began blowing the flames. Hauokai was his relative, and it was his practice to visit Tama at meal times. On this particular day, Tama was anxious that his meal be cooked and finished with before his relative arrived. As he was bending before the fire, he repeated to himself: “Flare up! flare up! Lest Hauokai catch me.” In the meantime however, Hauokai had already entered the room unnoticed and of course had heard what Tama had said. When Tama looked up, to his surprise, Hauokai was already there. “What evil have I done that you should treat me like this?” said Hauokai. To this Tama replied, “I am sick and tired of you; you always wait until a meal is ready before you visit me.” Hauokai replied, “I have only been visiting you because we are close relatives, however, in view of the fact that you claim that I visit you wholly because of food, we will never meet again.” To this, Tama replied. “One constantly in attendance will be revisited by relatives”, meaning that his relatives only visited him because of his unstinted services to them. This proverb of course could be interpreted in various ways. For instance on the spiritual level, this could be well used for those who seek Divine guidance only in times of distress and the like.

“A double grained greenstone.”

The modern interpretation of this is “a twofaced person.” The “kakano” is not “seed”, but the

 
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“He pounamu kakano rua.”

He whakatauaki tenei mo tetahi tangata e ruarua ana ona whakaaro. Ko te whakatakotoranga ki enei ra, he tangata e rua ona mata, kanohi ranei. Ko te “kakano” ehara i te purapura, engari ko te ahua o te pounamu. I tetahi ra kei te noho pai tetahi tangata, ao rawa ake i tetahi mai o nga ra, kei te puku riri tona ahua. Mona te whakatauaki nei, “He pounamu kakano rua.”

 

“grain” or “Testure” of the greenstone. This proverb is applicable to those who are moody; one day a person is happy and contented, and the next day he is grumpy, etc.

“The north is poor and the south abundant.” It appears as if this proverb originated from the North of Auckland. “Tinihanga” here means “plentiful” and not to “deceive.” The prized greenstone is found mainly in the south, and other prized! possessions are more plentiful in the south.