Dr Taiarahia Black on whakataukī (Māori proverbial sayings)

From Te Ahi Kaa, 6:05 pm on 9 December 2018

Dr Taiarahia Black is a PhD Supervisor at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. He meets Justine Murray at the Te Kōputu Kōrero a Hirini Moko Mead library space and offers up his interpretation of some whakataukī.

Professor Taiarahia Black.

Professor Taiarahia Black. Photo: RNZ/Justine Murray

Dr Hirini Moko Mead describes whakataukī (Māori proverbial sayings) as "succinct messages that place high value on certain aspects of human behaviour". 

Some of the whakataukī Dr Taiarahia Black explores:

Ka Pu te Ruha – Ka Hao te Rangatahi – when the old net is cast aside, the new net goes fishing.

This proverbial saying refers to the younger generation taking up the reigns left by their elders, Dr Black says.

Tangata Takahi Manuhiri he Marae Puehu – a person who disrespects their guests will have a dusty marae speaks to the importance of hospitality.

The saying Tama Tu Tama Ora Tama Noho Tama Mate is about the importance of being physically active and the detrimental impact that laziness has on a person’s health, Dr Black says.

“All of these whakataukī, pēpeha [and] narratives represent the aspirations of our communities, they are essential narratives that belong to that community that brings that community a sense of vitality, identity and essence,” Dr Black says.