Ngā pēpeha a ngā tīpuna

E kore au e ngaro; te kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea

‘I shall never be lost; the seed which was sown from Rangiātea.’ This is a saying of tribes from the Aotea canoe. Ra’iatea is an island in the Society Group.

Ka maru koe i tōku pūreke, he kahu pītongatonga

‘You shall be sheltered by my rain cape, an impervious garment.’ In 1822 Hongi Hika and a large contingent of Ngāpuhi armed with muskets attacked Waikato. Te Wherowhero, the Waikato leader, had retreated up the valley of the Waipā River to a pā of Ngāti Matakore hapū. Here he asked its chief, Te Ōtapeehi, if he was able to shelter him. The pēpeha gives the well-remembered reply in which the rain cape stands for the promised protection.

E kore te matau e rawe ki te moana takai ai, engari anō a uta

‘It is not proper to prepare the hook at sea, rather it should be done on shore.’ Don’t wait until the last minute to do something; be prepared.

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini

‘My strength is not that of a single warrior but that of many.’ Here Huata was referring to the collective effort necessary for the success of the periodical Te Toa Takitini, but the pēpeha applies equally in any situation where the combined efforts of many are needed to complete a project. Huata attributes the pēpeha to Paterangi of Ngāti Kahungunu.

Kaua e rangiruatia te hāpai o te hoe; e kore tō tātou waka e ū ki uta

‘Do not lift the paddle out of unison or our canoe will never reach the shore.’ This proverb serves to emphasise the importance of all working together to succeed in any joint project.

He tangata i ākona ki te whare, tūnga ki te marae tau ana

‘One who has learned in the house and on the marae stands with dignity.’ One who has been schooled in marae customs and speech will stand on the marae confidently, speaking well and admired by those present. The saying may also refer to the ‘house of learning’ (whare wānanga), where, after formal training, one may hope to become an outstanding orator on the marae.

Tell a colleague | Back to top