Rurea taitea kia tū ko taikākā anake
E ai ki tētahi kōrero i whakamahia e tētahi pakeke tēnei whakatuākī ki a Te Peehi i a ia e kohi kōrero ana mō ana tuhituhinga. Ko te tikanga i hoatu ai e ia ki a Te Peehi ko tēnei. Ko ngā whetū, te rā, te marama, noho riri kore ai rātou i waenga i a rātou anō. Otirā, kāore hoki rātou e mōhio ki te mau-ā-hara, ki te weriweri, ki te kino. He aroha mutunga kore kē tō rātou ki a rātou anō, ā, kāore e pāngia e ngā mate i a tātou nei i te tangata. E hemo ana rānei rātou. Nā reira, ko te whakatauākī nei he kōrero mō rātou. Ko te ‘taitea’, ko tērā wāhanga o te rākau ko te kiritai, ehara i te waahi pai o te rākau. Kāore e roa kua popo, kua pīrau tērā waahi kei te taha whakawaho o te rākau. Ko ngā tāngata o te ao nei te ‘taitea’. Tēnā ko ‘taikākā’ ko te iho, ko te waenganui o te rākau. Nā reira ko ngā whetū, ko te marama me te rā tēnei, tā te mea kāore e pīrau, e popo, e mate rānei, kāore hoki e taka mai i te rangi. Arā atu anō ētahi whakamārama ko te mea e mōhio whānuitia ana ko tērā o te rangatira i tīmata ai tana iwi ki te whakarere i a ia i te wā o te pakanga. Ka kite ia i te wehi o tana iwi ki te hoariri, ka whiua e ia ēnei kupu hei whakamātanga mō rātou. Otīa ka ekea rātou e te whakamā ka tahuri mai, ka whawhai atu ki te hoariri ka hinga i a rātou. Kāore rātou e hiahia kia whakaritea rātou ki te taitea ka kī ia he koretake. Nā reira i tēnei o ngā kōrero he kupu whakahau ēnei kupu, kia pono ki te kaupapa, kia pono ki ōu kāwai, kia pono ki a koe anō e kore koe e taea te whakangāueue.
Cast aside the sap-wood and let the heart-wood stand alone
According to a version an elderly informant used this proverb to illustrate a point to Elsdon Best, while he was gathering materials for his writings. The reason he used this for Best was because he believed that the stars, the moon and the sun live in peace with each other, they do not know jealousy, nor evil. They have a great affection for each other and are not afflicted by sickness, nor do they die. Therefore this aphorism is a saying about their nature. The ‘taitea’, ‘sap-wood’ is the outer wood of a tree that serves no useful purpose. It deteriorates and decays in a short time. The people of this world are the ‘taitea’, the ‘sap-wood’. The ‘taikākā’, the ‘heart-wood’ of the tree is represented by the stars, the moon and the sun in that they don’t deteriorate, rot, die or fall from the sky. There are other interpretations and the more popular one is that which recounts a desperate situation facing a chief in the heat of battle. His people were beginning to desert him for fear of the enemy. He observed their fear and shouted out this proverb to cause them to feel shame instead and it had its desired effect. They immediately turned around and joined him in the fight and overwhelmed the enemy. They did not want to be likened to the ‘taitea’, the ‘sap-wood’ and be described as useless. In this particular context the expression can be described as encouragement. Be true to the cause, be true to your family values, be true to yourself and once you have fortified yourself with these principles nothing can persuade you from attaining what you are striving for.
Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tūohu koe me maunga teitei
Ko te aronga o te kōrero nei e whakahau ana i tētahi kia kaha, kia ū ki te take i whakaritea ai māna, mōna rānei. Otīa, ahakoa ko te whāinga he tāonga iti noa, e kore e pai kia mutu noa te aru ā te tangata no te mea i whakaaro ia kāore e taea e ia. Ko tēnei kōrero e kī ana mā te maunga teitei rawa koe e whakaaroaro ai mēna me mutu me aha rānei. Kia kaua e waiho mā te tūtuki noa o tōu waewae e mahue ai i a koe tāu e whai ai. Ko tōna tino kia mau, kia ū ki te whakaaro, mahia te mahi kia oti rā anō.
Seek out the little prize, and if you have to succumb in the effort let it be to a lofty mountain
The intent of the adage is to encourage an individual to be resolute and committed to the task set for him or her. Even if the objective is only a small but important item or matter it is not desirable for the person to baulk at the thought that it may be beyond his or her capacity to pursue. Rather, this aphorism is saying that if one has to give in then it must be to something unyielding. You must not surrender because you’ve encountered a problem, in essence you must persevere until you have given of your best.
Mā pango mā whero ka oti te mahi
E kitea ana te whakaaro nui o te Māori ki te mahi tahi kia oti wawe ai te mahi i roto i tēnei whakatauki. Tuarua, kia māmā ai te mahi. Tuatoru, kia mahi tahi ai ngā rangatira me ā rātou tāngata ahakoa he aha te āhua o te mahi. Ko te tae whero koirā te tohu o ngā rangatira i te mea ko ō rātou kākahu i whatua ki ētahi huruhuru kākā arā, ki ngā huruhuru whero. Ko te pango ko te tohu tērā o ngā upoko o ngā Māori kua huia i te wāhi kotahi ki te whakatūtuki i te take i karangahia ai rātou. Nā, anō te āhua reka o te nohoanga o ngā teina, o ngā tuākana i runga i te whakaaro kotahi. Kei te paipera, kei ngā pukapuka, ngā waiata upoko tahi rau toru tekau mā toru i te tahi o ngā rārangi tēnei kōrero, he kōrero e tautoko ana i te tikanga o tēnei whakatauki “Mā pango, mā whero ka oti te mahi”. He whakahau kia kotahi rātou i roto i ō rātou whakaaro kia tapatahi ō rātou ngākau.
By the black and red will the tasks be soon completed
In this epigram the Māori emphasis on working together to hasten the completion of a task, to lessen the laboriousness of that task and to intimately involve their leaders in sharing the workload no matter the nature of the work is evident. The colour red signified chiefly rank as the chiefs more prestigious cloaks were woven to include the red feathers of the kākā. The colour black metaphorically referred to the many heads that were drawn from the clan or tribal group to do the job. The sense of unity is encapsulated in the quote from the bible, Psalms, chapter 133, verse 1, which reads, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”. Essentially the proverb encourages people to share their tasks to work together in order that these can be completed in as briefer time as possible. More importantly it emphasises the advantages of sharing work and ensuring that the task is completed as quickly as possible.
I hea koe i te tangihanga o te pīpīwharauroa
He whakatauki tēnei e pā ana ki te wā e tahuri ai te Māori ki te mahi i ana māra, ki te whakatō i ana kai. E kīa ana tēnei wā ko te wā o te raumati, e kō ai te tangata hei mahi māra hei waerenga rānei kia tika ai ki te whakatipu kai. Ko te manu nei ko te pīpīwharauroa, ka rere rawa mai i ngā whenua o Rūhia kia tae mai ki konei ki Aotearoa, i te wā o te raumati ki te whānau i ana hua kia puta he pīpī, ā, ka hoki anō ai rātou ki te whenua o Rūhia i tērā wāhanga o te tau e kīa nei ko te ngahuru. Inā tīmata te manu nei ki te tangi kei reira te Māori mōhio ai kua tae mai te wā hei whakatō i ana kai. Otīa ko te tino aronga o te kōrero nei ko te ngaro o te hunga mangere i te wā e mahi ai ngā mahi uaua, taumaha hoki o te whakatō, o te ngaki i te kai, tae noa ki te hauhake. Kia tae mai ki te wā o te tohatoha, o te kai rānei i ngā hua o te whenua hei konā e kitea ai ngā momo hōnia. Ko te kaupapa rawa o tēnei kōrero he wero i te tangata mangere kia mōhio tērā pea kāore ia i whiwhi e whangaia rānei. Mākona, ka tīmata ia ki te whakaaro nui ki ētahi atu tāngata a ki te mahi kai hoki māna anō.
Where were you when the shining cuckoo was singing its song
This was an adage used in reference to agricultural activities Māori people engaged in, when preparing their gardens and planting the crops. It was a time when every able-bodied person was considered to be important to the satisfactory and early completion of these large tasks. The shining cuckoo migrates from its summer home in Siberia, Russia to Aotearoa in order to spend summer here and to lay its eggs, nuture its chicks and return once more in Autumn to Russia to spend summer there. The precept is intended to persude lazy individuals who try to avoid the necessary tasks of preparing, planting and weeding gardens to change their ways and become industrious. It was noticable that these sorts of people were conspicous by their absence during times of industry, but were present when the food was to be shared and eaten.
He mangawai koia kia kore e whitikia
E ai ki ngā kōrero nā te tipuna nei nā Kahungū ngū i whakapuaki tenei tauki i te wā i kohete ai tana wahine a Hinetapu ki a ia mōna ka hiahia haere ki te torotoro i ngā whanaunga, ki te tirotiro whenua kē i te taha tonga o Kaitaia. Ko te tino aronga kē o te kōrero nei, ki te kore te tangata e whakamātau i ngā wai hōhonu, i ngā maunga teitei rānei e kore ia e mōhio he aha kei tētahi taha kē. E kore e taea te whakawhiti te awa mā te mātaki noa anō, e kore hoki e whiti i te wawata engari me whakatūtuki e te tangata tāna e tumanako ai ahakoa he aha nga tūtukinga waewae kei mua i a ia. Nā reira, me atamai te tangata, me ū hoki ki te whakaaro, kia kaua e rangirua engari me tapatahi te ngākau me niwha hoki te hinengaro.
Is a river never to be crossed
This is a saying attributed to the ancestor Kahungūngū when his wife Hinetapu reminstrated with him over his desire to journey south of Kaitaia to visit relatives and explore new lands. Essentially, the expression eludes to the point that if a person does not attempt to cross deep waters or to traverse lofty mountains then that person will continue to remain ignorant of what is on the other side of the divide. You can not cross the river by standing and staring at it, it is not sufficient to simply look at the water and wish in vain, rather it means nothing ventured, nothing gained. Therefore one must be ready, be dedicated to the objective and singular of mind.
Ko te pae tawhiti whāia kia tata, Ko te pae tata whakamaua kia tīna.
He whakataukī whakahau i te tangata kia kaua e whāiti noa mai ngā whakaaro ngā wawata ki ngā mea kei mua tonu i tōna aroaro. Engari, kia titiro whānui ka whai i aua moemoe ahakoa pēhea te uaua te tawhiti rānei o aua mea. Wai hoki, ko ngā whāinga kua taea me whakaū kia kaua e ngaro kia ora ai te tangata i ngā hua. Kia kaha te tangata ki te kimi i ngā kura huna o te ao, kia whai oranga ai ētahi atu i āna mahi.
Seek to bring distant horizons closer, and sustain and maintain those that have been arrived at.
This affirism encourages people to have vision, and to strive to bring that vision closer to a realisation. What has already been achieved must be strengthened and nurtured. It is difficult to say what is impossible for the dreams of yesterday are the hopes of today and the realities of tomorrow. A person must be ever determined to find ways of creating benefits for other humans.