The past can lead us to a better future
Each waka were recently asked to develop a flagship korero that they
felt best represented themselves in relation to their particular waka,
their unique cultural heritage, including any significant occurrences
that they felt worth sharing with everyone. This information would
them be used to develop posters that each waka could then use to inform
people of the purpose and kaupapa of Te Mana o te Moana in a way that
best suited their cultural values and beliefs.
For the crew of Te Matau a Maui the choice was obvious, and what
follows is the korero we felt best reflected what we are standing and
who we represent from the nation of Aotearoa…
Te Ika-a-Maui – The story of Maui and the fish
In times long ago, the great Pacific ancestor and navigator Maui, went
fishing with his brothers.
Using his enchanted jawbone fish hook that his grandmother gave to him,
he pulled up a giant fish. Maui left his brothers to watch over the
creature, while he went to appease the gods.
However, instead of following protocol, the brothers greedily slashed
at the fish s back to divide between themselves. Maui returned to find
a dying fish, and desperately began to Karakia (recite incantations) to
the gods to help heal the wounds.
They sent trees, plants and animals to cover the gashes and fresh water
to cleanse them.
This is how Te Ika-a-Maui, the North Island of Aotearoa, New Zealand,
came to be.
We as children have heard this story over and over again, but the
significance and teachings held within the korero are less obvious.
The importance of our creation stories are largely under-estimated
western society and the subtleties of the value ethics contained
within them are the underlying guiding principles are indeed the
founding values for each of our individual cultural systems developed
by our ancestors over the centuries. In light of the environmental
degradation that is occurring worldwide, the need to draw back on these
founding stories and their teachings within are now becoming critical
in creating a new (old) way of being.
So, what does this story teach us:
– the brothers show us the danger of greed and disrespect for
– by taking too much they nearly destroyed their resources and that of
– Only through diversity and abundance of nature could the land be
– When things go wrong, there are established processes of restoration
and reconciliation that can be followed to ensure balance and harmony
Tikanga and Kawa – Traditional Maori values and practices
Proper stewardship over our land and oceans will help remedy problems
we face today:
TANGAROA our ocean guardian
– top of the food chain species such as whales, dolphins and sharks are
considered our kaitiaki (guardians) and are important to maintaining a
balanced eco system
– fish are the children of Tangaroa which give us responsibility to
fish sustainably and observe traditions and protocols such as rahui
(seasonal restrictions) and tapu (permanent restrictions).
PAPATUANUKU our earth mother
– Papatuanuku has provided us with our natural and physical resources
and with correct management and protocols we can live within our means
RANGINUI our sky father
– Ranginui repleanses the land, waterways, oceans and people. What we
put into the air eventually comes back to us.
KARAKIA (prayer/ incantations).
Every day we need to appreciate and respect what is given to us and use
it in a responsible manner.
Building unity amongst our pacific and global family and being aware of
our connection to all living things
MANAAKITANGA (care for others)
We are all responsible to care for and protect our natural environment
Develop sustainable practices in our everyday life to ensure an
abundant future for ourselves and our children after us.
Our Waka are vessels for practicing and teaching these values,
Toitu te Marae a Tane
Toitu te Marae a Tangaroa
Toitu te Iwi
If the domain of the Tane (forest) and Tangaroa (ocean) are preserved,
so is the life of the people.
Te Matau a Maui