e aha te kai o te rangatira, he kōrero.
This is a famous whakataukī (proverb) amongst the Māori people. It explains that the food of the chiefs is speaking. It describes how Māori can find nourishment in their learning and understanding of new concepts through speaking aloud with each other.
On the marae, there are many opportunities for Māori to work in collaborative situations through wānanga (group discussions) to analyse issues of the day. In more formal occasions, Māori males show their oratory skills through whai kōrero (formal speeches) at pōwhiri (rituals of encounter ceremony) where first time visitors are welcomed onto the marae (traditional meeting place). In these situations, the tangata whenua (traditional hosts) welcome the visitors tīpuna (ancestors) and make links to their whakapapa (genealogy).
The experience is very spiritual and emotional for people who have never been on the marae before. Oprah Winfrey thoroughly enjoyed herself when she came to Aotearoa last year and visited the marae Tumutumu whenua at Orakei, Tāmakimakaurau (Auckland).
Nā Teariki rāua ko Nate
– By Nathan Riki
A fundamental principle regarding NZ law is that of due process and the right to access justice.
In my future, as an active player within the justice system, the ability to speak te reo Māori, means that I will be better able to provide legal services to and representation for Māori clients. Whilst the knowledge of te reo Māori may seem a simple linguistic matter, it is the reo itself that provides the insight to the holistic nature of the Māori culture.
By understanding this all-embracing nature, it is then possible to better communicate in ways which will adequately convey the rights and responsibilities which the justice system provides.
With improved communication, the statistical over representation of Māori people within New Zealand’s prisons and other justice and social services may be discontinued and effectively diminished.
There are many other advantages to speaking te reo Māori, including that of a deeper understanding of one’s own identity and the confidence this gives one in their journey toward the betterment of all NZ citizens and the eventual outcome of a bicultural legal system.
– By Laura James
Mauri ora whānau!
For me, an important aspect of being Māori is the opportunities I get to participate in kapa haka! Fortunately, for the whānau at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha, we have an amazing rōpū (group) that meet twice a week to sing waiata, practise haka, poi, karakia and of course, share kai.
At the moment, we are working towards our performance for Te Huinga Tauira (annual national Māori students conference) 2016. We are fortunate enough to have two amazing kapa haka tutors in Hana Mereraiha and Matau Te Aika-Puanaki who have created a well thought out and very relevant bracket for our performance, ngā mihi mahana ki a korua!
For anyone who is interested, the kapa haka group are always keen for new members, even if you just want to come along to learn some new waiata, nau mai, haere mai!
Mauri ora whānau, ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa!
– by Teariki Tuiono and Nate Riki