Archives For Maori

Lauren Buchholz, Community Ranger and recent migrant to New Zealand shares her experience at Waimārama marae on DOC’s Te Pukenga Atawhai programme.

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Eleven men and women of Ngāti Pāhauwera descent are celebrating after recently graduating from the Māori Conservation Foundation Course.

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Today marks the start of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori / Māori Language Week (July 21—27).

Celebrate Māori Language Week 2014.

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is a chance to celebrate and learn more about te reo—a unique and important part of our identity as New Zealanders.

This year’s theme is Te Kupu o te Wiki, or The Word of the Week, which encourages us to broaden our vocabulary by learning a new Māori word each week for 50 weeks.

Department of Conservation (DOC) staff are taking on the challenge.

Visit the Kōrero Māori website the if you’re keen to join us.

Manu / bird. Director-General Lou Sanson shares the word for the week beginning 27 April 2015.

Manu / bird. Director-General Lou Sanson shares one of the 50 kupu

Hopefully, by taking on the Te Kupu o te Wiki challenge, we will make more Māori words and phrases commonplace around DOC.

Our photo of the week today features the impressive Mt Taranaki located in Egmont National Park.

Local Māori believe Mt Taranaki once stood with the mountains of the central North Island. After a dispute over the maiden Pihanga, Taranaki fled his ancestral home, carving out the bed of the Whanganui River on his journey to the coast

This photo was taken from the Pouakai Range north of the maunga/mountain.

Mount Taranaki in the Egmont National Park. Photo: Malcolm Peacey.

DOC is running a survey to get a better idea of what people like to do in Egmont National Park and what opportunities they would like to see within the park in the future. Tell us what you think and be in to win some great prizes. The survey runs until Friday 17th January.

Photo by Malcolm Peacey | CC BY-NC 2.0

To celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week we enjoy a kōrero about te reo with Brett Cowan, Community Relations Ranger, Kaikoura

Brett helping at Wairau Bar archeological dig.

Brett helping at Wairau Bar archeological dig

My level of te reo fluency is…

Kei te whakamahana te paepae. Intermediate level. I promote Te Mita O Kāi Tahu/Ngāi Tahu dialect.

The Māori name of my hometown and the story behind that name is…

Kaikoura is the short version as the early settlers couldn’t pronounce “Te Ahi Kaikoura O Tama Ki Te Raki”.

Tamakiteraki was a great traveller of Te Waipounamu/South Island. Kaikoura was one of his favourite sites to stop. In particular, the Kaikoura Peninsula, where he would gather koura/crayfish. The koura were so plentiful he would only need to collect them from the rock pools, requiring only his ankles to get wet as they lay on top of each other six-deep in the pool. Te Ahi Kaikoura O Tama Ki Te Raki means ‘The place where Tamakiteraki would gather, cook and eat his crayfish’.

Brett strumming his guitar.

Brett strumming away

My tip to help you learn/practice te reo is…

Most people only korero 5% of te reo they know, and keep 95% hidden. My challenge to you is to korero 95% of what you know and only keep 5% to yourself.

My te reo challenge of the day is… 

If someone mispronounces a Māori word or name, without putting them down, try to pronounce it correctly in a sentence.

I reckon you should learn te reo because…

It’s like a muscle in your body. If you don’t use it, it becomes weak.

To me, ‘ensuring my work is in line with the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi’ means…. 

I am a Māori conservation worker. Not just a conservation worker that happens to be Māori.

It’s Māori Language Week—Te Wiki o Te Reo Māoria perfect time for us to enjoy a kōrero about te reo with Joe Harawira, DOC’s Kaihautu – Te Putahitanga (Manager- Strategic Partnerships).

Language is central to the cultural identity of both the individual and the community to which he or she belongs. Not only does a language express the realities of a particular group, but it also marks one’s membership of that group, both from within (since the language is shared) and without (since it highlights one’s differences).

Joe Harawira at the Maori Market in 2011.

Joe story telling at the Māori Market in 2011

If a language is lost, the cultural identity of the group is considerably weakened, which in turn alters the very nature of the society of which that group is part. In light of this, it may be considered important to retain and promote the Māori language, in order, amongst other things, to develop a diverse and harmonious society.

Ko Te Reo Te Hā Te Mauri O Te Māoritanga.
Language is the very life-breath of being Māori.

Te Taura Whiri I te reo
Māori Language Commission

In 1987, the Māori language became an official language of New Zealand along with English and, more recently, Sign Language (2006).

The Māori language is a very important part of who I am as New Zealander. Having travelled the world over the past 35 years as a storyteller, I am constantly asked by the audiences I perform to, to tell the story in my language, the Māori language.

All languages have a wairua, a spirit. The Māori language seems to be one of those languages that people can hear, can feel, can know, can understand. Even though the language is foreign to the ear, and the people I met on my travels are first time listeners of the Māori language.

I first of all tell the story in te reo Māori and then retell it in English, with a translator from that country retelling it in German, Dutch, French, Hungarian and so on. In fact, when in Paris last January, I told a story in te reo Māori and a young Māori university student who had been through the Kura Kaupapa Māori immersion schooling system translated straight into French for the children gathered. It was a fantastic experience.

Joe Harawira storytelling in the Outback (Kakadu).

Joe storytelling in the Outback (Kakadu)

The Māori language has a spirit of its own and in order to maintain the integrity of the spirit, correct pronunciation is required. To mispronounce a word is to alter its story and its spirit. All names, including place names, have a whakapapa, a story.

An example of people altering words is the use of Paraparam for Paraparaumu. I am not sure what the story is behind Paraparam, other than people having trouble pronouncing the word or just plain laziness. I could be facetious and say that the story behind Paraparam is that it is about someone pushing a pram down the street. Paraparaumu alludes to the plentiful food resources of the area, evident in the leftovers found in the food pits. The literal translation of parapara is scraps and umu is cooking pit or oven.

I make this point, more so, to share the importance of maintaining the integrity and the spirit of the language through correct pronunciation, as the correct pronunciation of Māori names and words has a bearing on its meaning. I wish not to labour the point of the importance of language to a culture, other than to say that we all are connected, physically, spiritually and mentally to the natural world, in our own ways, through our deep sense of manaaki (caring) and tiaki (nurturing).

The Māori language is a simple language. It is made up of vowels and consonants. An understanding of the pronunciation of those vowels and consonants will go a long way to giving the language the mana that it deserves. I congratulate those that see value in learning the Māori language as an addition to the tool and skill sets that you already possess.

Kia kaha.

When Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatuanuku, the Earth mother, were separated by their children, the God of the winds—Tawhirimatea—became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens.

For Māori, the rising of these stars (called Matariki – ‘the eyes of God’), is celebrated by giving gratitude to Papatūānuku, practicing whakawhanaungatanga (establishing relationships and relating well to others) and valuing manaakitanga (hospitality and kindness).

Matariki in the night sky. Image courtesy of pbkwee, flickr.com.

Matariki in the night sky

Known as the Māori New Year, Matariki is also a time to give respect to the unique land we live on; a time of growth, to plant new trees and crops; to gather with whānau and friends and to reflect on what has been and what is yet to come. A time of new beginnings.

Traditionally, the success of the following season’s crops would be determined by Matariki. The brighter the stars, the warmer the season and the more plentiful the crops would be.

The flying of kites at a Matariki celebration. Photo: Chris Gin | CC BY NC-ND 2.0.

The flying of kites at a Matariki celebration. Photo: Chris Gin | CC BY NC-ND 2.0.

In days gone by, Māori used the concept of manaaki (care) of the natural resources to survive,” says DOC’s Kaihautu – Te Putahitanga (Manager – Strategic Partnerships) Joe Harawira.

“For Māori, sustainability of resources was crucial to our survival. Our people had to adapt to the sometimes harsh and inhospitable conditions that were encountered upon arrival to Aotearoa. This was the time where they learned how to live, to breathe, to know and to understand how to live with the environment; how to co-exist. They wore the mantle of the land with dignity and respect, hearkened to the ways of nature, appreciated the elements, and speculated the cosmos. Therefore, the environment and its care are at the forefront of the celebrations around Matariki”.

To get in on the action and celebrate this time of new beginnings, bring friends and family along to one of the many events around the country. Eventfinder has a good list to choose from, and the Matariki Festival website has ideas for how you can celebrate from home—recipes, craft ideas, competitions and more.

Planting of trees. Image courtesy of Sandra Burles, DOC.

Matariki is a time to plant new trees and crops

Star gazing

Matariki is the group of stars also known as the Pleiades star cluster or The Seven Sisters. The pre-dawn rise of Matariki can be seen in the last few days of May, with the New Year marked by the sighting of the next new moon that occurs during June. This year it will occur on 23 June. This also happens to be a super moon, so it will be at its closest point to the Earth (known as a lunar perigee), shining brighter and larger than usual.

So, set the alarm for around 5.30 am, wrap up warmly and drag yourself outside. The best time to see Matariki is about half an hour before dawn.

1. Find the pot (the bottom three stars of the pot are called tautoru, or Orion’s Belt).

2. To the left of the pot, find the bright orange star, Taumata-kuku (Alderbaran).

3. Keep going left from Taumata-kuku until you find a cluster of stars. That is Matariki. You may be able to see the individual stars among the cluster, but if it’s a bit fuzzy, look just below or above it and they will appear clearer.

4. Get comfy and spend a few moments reflecting on the year that was and the year to come.

Matariki signals change—preparation and making plans to take action. We appreciate our whenua and celebrate the diversity of life. We learn about who came before us, our history and our heritage. Not only do we acknowledge what we have, we acknowledge what we have to give.

Pre-dawn sky. Image courtesy of irkstyle, flickr.com.

The best time to see Matariki is about half an hour before dawn.