Tēnei au tēnei au
Ki te hōkai nei o taku tapuwae
Ki te hōkai nuku
Ki te hōkai rangi
Ki te hōkai ō tātou tupuna a Tāne-nui-ā-rangi
I pikitia ai ki te Rangitūhāhā
Ki te tihi o Manono
I riro iho ai ngā kete o te wānanga
Ko te kete tuauri
Ko te kete tuatea
Ko te kete aronui
Ka tiritiria, ka poupoua
Ki a Papatūānuku
Kia puta te ira tangata
Ki te whai ao
Ki te ao marama
tihei mauri ora!
This tauparapara outlines the journey of Tāne to Rangitūhāhā. Tāne brought to the world of light three baskets, each containing all knowledge useful for humans in their dealings with the world. This knowledge detailed not only how to deal with other humans, birds, and plants, but also how to deal with the world in general. The knowledge he carried was then scattered like seeds across the earth, so that it could be sown and embedded into Papatūānuku. The life-principle of humans was brought forward to the world of light. This tauparapara is often said in Māori schools throughout the country, sometimes as a prayer and sometimes as an introduction to a speech. It makes very simple but clear statements. Tāne sought knowledge not in this world, but in the realm where atua reside. Papatūānuku holds the knowledge brought from those realms. Human existence, the life-principle of humans itself, is reliant on knowledge of Papatūānuku. Our knowledge and understanding of her and the world of light is imperative for the existence of humans. The life-principle of all things flourishes from her body. If we fail to take care of her, we sicken and die. Te Atawhai o Te Ao’s main focus is in the two areas of environment and health. In a Māori worldview, these two areas are not separate, but are fundamentally linked.
This kōrero is the result of the first meeting of our Whānau Board. It outlines through proverbs the kaupapa or basic philosophy of Te Atawhai o Te Ao. Each member of the Whānau Board contributed a whakataukī that gives guidelines for environment and health.
Mai i te purapura iti rawa
Ka tupu ko te tino rākau
From the smallest seed, grows the mightiest of trees. From small beginnings, great things can emerge. This saying reminds us that from the smallest of beginnings, great things can evolve. There are many sayings like this that affirm our need to maintain humility and respect for the smallest things. No matter how insignificant they may appear, their potential can be immense.
Na Papatūānuku e takoto ana!
This is one line of whakapapa that comes from the descent lines of the many creations. The nearest translation would be: Behold the magnificence of Papatūānuku lying before us! This line evokes a feeling of imagining when Ranginui and Papatūānuku had just been separated, of imagining what it was like after Rangi and Papa had been as one through aeons of time then to be pushed apart. It is the simplest of lines, but it calls us to remember her creation and to remember when she was seen for the first time, the reverence and awe of that moment.
Nā te whenua te toto o te tangata
Land is the life blood of the people! Without the land there is no life. This saying expresses the interconnection of people and land. People were born from the land and without it we cannot survive. The whenua means both land and the placenta. There is deep respect for the interconnections between people and land.
Anga atu o karu ki ngā maunga teitei
Kei reira te oranga mō tātou
This saying urges people to turn towards the mountains, to be regenerated and uplifted. This is meant in both a physical and spiritual sense. Māori know that in returning home, they can be revived. Each person has maunga, awa and whenua that uplift them. Maunga are tūpuna as well. Some were tapu, and to walk on them was to walk on the head of an ancestor.
Mate atu kāinga tahi
Ora ake kāinga rua
When one house dies, two others arise in their place. This saying affirms the continuity of whakapapa, whānau, and collectively working together. The continuation of life and death, this saying affirms dying as a natural process. This affirms the continual regeneration of people and their work.
Hoki atu ki ngā maunga
Kia purea e ngā hau o Tāwhirimātea
Return to the mountains to be energised by the winds of Tāwhirimātea. This is about the health of the people and returning to the mountains of your tūpuna (ancestors) for renewal. This is one of many sayings that urge people to return to their rivers, lands, seas, and lakes to restore their well-being.
Te manu e kai ana te miro, nāna te ngahere
Te manu e kai ana te mātauranga, nāna te ao
The bird that eats the miro berry owns the forest. The bird that is fed by knowledge, owns the world. This saying emphasises the importance of learning and knowledge.
Tini whetū ki te rangi
He iti te pokeao ka ngaro
There are many stars in the sky, it is only a small cloud that hides them. By hard work and determination, people will pull through. It is only a small cloud that obscures the stars, there are still many in the sky and the cloud will pass. Stars are often referred to when discussing knowledge and are often looked to for signs and teachings. Stars are also important for navigation in waka voyaging. It is said when people die they become stars. We plant and fish by the moon, we tell time and seasons by the stars and the moon.
Ahakoa whati te manga
Te takoto ana te kōhiwi
Although the branch is broken off, the trunk remains. Trees are often likened to people. This saying says that although a branch is broken, the tree remains and it can refer to a number of situations. It affirms the importance of and strength found through collectively working together. When something happens to one, the collective can remain strong. This whakataukī talks of the importance of strong foundations of whakapapa but can also mean any group. Trees are strong images, trees are often used to describe people, the strength of the tōtara. When someone prominent dies, it can be likened to the felling of a mighty tree. Unity in collective strength is often described as a row of trees planted together.
He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata!
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people. This whakataukī reminds us to always have compassion for people and take care of others. There are many sayings that affirm the importance of taking care of people. Simple things, such as always ensuring that people are well-fed and hosted are important values. Sharing what you have with others is part of basic respect. In hard times it is understood that if you have looked after the people, they will also look after you. Respect your elders, listen to your people and take care of your people.
He tīaho mai i roto, he tīaho mai i waho
Pou tīhoahotia, pou tūramaramatia
If light shines within and light shines outwards, then the pillars of your work will shine brightly. Light will shed the shadows. The quality of a person is seen by the light that shines within them. The brilliance of the light is like a beacon that shines out into the world.
Tau mata ahu tikitiki
He tuohu ahurangi
If you must bow your head then do so with the dignity of a chief. If you must bow your head make sure that it is to only the highest of mountains. Leadership for Māori urges leaders to follow the guidance of their people and to ensure clarity of actions.
Haere i te rourou iti ā haere
Ata whakaarohia tāu haere
Kia kore ai e mate kai
Ko wai ka hua? Ko wai ka tohu?
This saying talks about how we can do all the right things, such as gather food, be careful to store it, and carefully measure it out. But what makes the food grow and who makes the signs appear? We are being reminded to remember that although we can be careful, it is atua, kaitiaki, and others that determine whether our food will come to fruition and will send us signs to follow. This is similar to the saying: I can’t change the direction of the wind but I can adjust my sails to reach my destination.
Haere ki mua, haere ki muri
We have to understand the past in order to understand the future. This saying says to not only look to the past but also to understand how our actions today will shape the future. We are responsible for the shape of the world that we leave for our grandchildren tomorrow.