Whakatauki (proverbs) represent the wisdom guiding the Maori culture. They are commonly used as inspirations in speeches and also as gentle reminders spoken to each other in everyday life. They are poetic expressions of wise sayings which allude to symbols native to Aotearoa. These proverbs also refer to significant historical events (such as Waitangi and ANZAC Day) and universal viewpoints on compassion, community, environment, and even food! They contain underlying messages which are greatly important to the Maori community.
Aside from the fact that they are fun to learn, whakatauki are instrumental to learning the Maori language. They are open to a lot of interpretations depending on the person who read or heard it. Also, it improves your proficiency in te reo Maori especially when you succeed in translating them to English. Furthermore, they will greatly impact your life. You will surely remember these proverbs once you see a mountain, a forest, bird or any object referenced in them. These allusions make them easy to remember because of the imagery they contain.
There are a lot of whakatauki you can choose to memorize and learn about, ranging from short sayings to long ones. Below are some of the easy whakatauki you can start with. These are ones that can help you integrate Growth Mindset with your tamariki.
He iti hau marangai e tū te pāhokahoka
Just like a rainbow after the storm, success follows failure.
We are often discouraged whenever we face trials and challenges in our lives. We become weak and insecure. We reach the point when we just want to give up. However, take heart. Failures are ingredients to success. (Kaiako say this all day to their ākonga!) Making mistakes is essential but it doesn’t have to stop there. You have to learn from them. Eventually, after all the problems you face, you’ll definitely see the rainbow at the end of the day.
Kei ōu ringaringa te ao
The world is yours.
What do you want to do? What makes you happy? What are your dreams and aspirations in life? The sky is the limit and the world is yours. All you have to do is dream and persevere. Make the most out of all the opportunities the world has to offer!
Whaowhia te kete mātauranga
Fill the basket of knowledge.
When you stop learning, you will stop growing. Becoming mature not only entails your age, but it should also speak highly of how much you have learned through the years. Seize every chance to learn. Read a book. Listen to people. learn te reo. There are a lot of ways to learn and life is but a huge classroom.
Mā te huruhuru ka rere te manu
Adorn the bird with feathers so it may soar.
Whether you are young or old, there’s always room to grow. Learning a new skill, solving problems, and helping others are just some of the many “feathers” you can wear in order to soar high. The more strengths you have, the higher you’ll fly! Give your tamariki those feathers (experiences) so they may soar.
He manako te kōura i kore ai
Wishing for the crayfish won’t bring it.
A lot more often than we know, we get stuck in dreaming about the things we want in life. However, acting on what we wish for makes a big difference. Once we act on what we want, our dreams will turn into reality. Take that leap and make your dreams come true. BE ACTIVE LEARNERs tamariki mā!
Mā te kimi ka kite, Mā te kite ka mōhio, Mā te mōhio ka mārama
Seek and discover. Discover and know. Know and become enlightened.
Learning is a journey. It starts with a conscious effort to seek knowledge. Upon seeking, you will surely discover a brand new thing or see a familiar object in a totally new light. Eventually, the things you know will lead you to become wise beyond your years. Seek. Discover. Know. Be enlightened.
These are just some of the wide selection of whakatauki you may want to learn and they come under a lot of themes as well! Aside from themes about learning and wisdom, there are also whakatauki about love, community, environment, and self-identity.
Finally, acquiring these whakatauki in your everyday living will not only help you in learning te reo Maori and in making wise decisions. It will also help you gain a sense of belonging to te ao Māori. You will become a part of this rich oral tradition that has transcended centuries of being passed on from generation to generation.
If you want more whakatauki and beautiful posters of them, click here. You can post them at home, in your classroom, in your office, or anywhere you want to see them at! Here is a WHAKATAUKI Freebie example.
Below is a fun activity for home or school. Im sure you and your whānau will enjoy making them. It would also may a wonderful koha for someone else. (Good holiday activity).
FILL IN THE FORM BELOW for this FREEBIE cube.
It will be sent to your INBOX.
Have fun 🙂
Below are resources which will help you gain more wisdom through whakatauki:
Matariki Whakataukī Colouring Pages
Te Reo Māori Whakataukī – Colouring Pages 1
Te Reo Māori Whakataukī – Colouring Pages 2
Whakataukī Collaborative Poster – Mahitahi
Whakataukī Collaborative Poster – Manaia
Whakataukī Collaborative Poster-Native Birds
Whakatauki Collaborative Poster A K O