Maori Spirituality

Ko te timatamga o te whakaaronui, ko te wehi ki te Atua, nana nei nga mea katoa.
The beginning of all wisdom is to be in awe before creation, before God, the creator of all things.

Kia koutou kua wheturangitia, haere, koutou, haere, haere atu ra.
To you our ancestors who have became as one with the stars, farewell, farewell, farewell.

Hoki noa ki a tatou te hunga ora, tena noa tatou katoa.
Returing to us who are living, greetings, greetings, greetings.

Ka nui te mihi ki a koutout katoa kua tau mai ki tenei wahi o nga whakaaro, nga tikanga wiarua taku.

A warm welcome to all who have arrived to this place of things spiritual, Maori spirituality.

 In this page we will be looking at a basic level of understanding of Maori concepts like mana, and a tonne of links to sites to help with your language skills, basic greetings and key creation stories.

Maori Practice Values

I lectured two papers at the University of Otago for 5 years and below is a brief summary of practice values in the health and social work sector.

As I said to my students:
  • Always allow the person your working with their story.
  • Every thing you earn helps you listen better and so repsond with more understanding -thats it!
  • And lastly, these idea a general and every whanau (family), Hapu (Group of families) and Iwi -People have the right and freedom to interpret how they apply to them.
As a practice value, whakapapa recognises firstly that everyone has a beginning belonging in history filled with people of mana, places that are sacred and where they belong, a people they belong to, a way of life (tikanga) that adds most value to their life, and a ‘storied lineage’. They have a rich story.
Ultimately they are worthy of respect because of their connection to Atua, to the source of tapu, to people of mana.

Whanau As above but also in the sense that this value will be held above others even when this seems irrational. This also encompasses acknowledging a need to belonging, acceptance, connection, and Tautoko. Tautoko is an obligation and regarding practice as I have mentioned previously, any prior support given or connection creates a life long relationship even if nothing else brings you together.

Manaakitanga – Welcome, hospitality, care, awareness of the need for this and the order in which respect must be given and received

Tautoko – proactive support/being there/hanging in there/giving a ‘shit’ (this carries down to earth meaning and purpose)

Mana – power/power for change – power for influence – dynamic change/life giving change- service. Acknowledge mana respond to it.

Tapu/noa – Acknowledgment is the sacred/spiritual. The protection of and maintenance of boundaries as they apply within the tikanga of an iwi, hapu and whanau. Including people, places, actions. Acknowledgement of all involved in a process, including those who may have been involved in the past or in the genesis/beginning of an issue or process.

Are there any that are important to you?

What do the following concepts mean to you? Turangawaewae, pepeha, kaitiaki, ahi kaa.

Your place where you have a right to speak, to be acknowledged as belonging –a right ot participate and an obligation to play a role.

Can be a chant speaking about ones’ Whakapapa/place

The role of ‘safe keeping’, protection, and can also relate to ensuring that a person receives the right education.
Taking responsibility for others – tuakana/teina

Ahi kaa.
The role and responsibility to maintain the living, warm presence of a whare tipuna (ancestral house).
It is here that the tikanga and expressions of it are maintained and safe guarded. The authenticity of kawa and belief are retold – whakapapa is kept and challenged against the communities storehouse of knowledge.

Below is an excerpt from a course in Maori Spirituality I attended with Pa Henare Tate and Pa Michael Shirres.

Karakia (like Prayer) -Especially Whakataka te Hau and other examples and explanations of Karakia by Michael Shirres.

An explanations of basic concepts coming soon!

Mana     (Maori Dictionary definition)

Mana is dynamic, it creates and makes things happen. Mana is the 'energy of the Gods', it is a quality that is spiritual power. Manakitanga (hospitality) is to be mana-a-ki, that is, to be full of mana. This tells us it relates to the ability to fulfill a role, to play a part, to give, and to care.

Some words that are bult from it also give us a glue, Manawanui, 'to be big hearted', Mana Motuhake, that Mana or (spiritual) power that is special to a specific group due to it's distinct identity, gifts, whakapapa (history) and perspectives. Mana whakahaere, mana to oversee, to make things happen (authority).

Lots to learn. More to come, ka kite (see you later)

Manaakitanga (Maori Dictionary Definition)

The straight up meaning that most will tell you is hospitality and making people feel welcome to place. This will be through food, speeches, entertainment (waiata or singing), comfort, and allowing the guests to have a 'place to stand', to express their thoughts and mind.

It is all of these things and comes with other bits and pieces depending on where you are.
One understanding of manaakitanga is, to be 'mana-a-ki', to be "full of mana". This is shown in the amount or quality of the food offered, the quality of the hospitality. no-one want to have it said that at their Marae or hui, people were not looked after.

I love this value because it goes much deeper than food as important a part as this plays, it is also in the warmth shown, the ability to listen, and to really 'see' and acknowledge the whole person before them, it is to be able to sit with people to korero, to share, to laugh, to be people together.

I mention Waiata (Songs) becaue they are an important part of Maori. There are many different types of waiata for different purposes but always waiata is present.

Types of Waiata 
 -Oriori (lullabies) Lullaby used for the dual purpose of lulling a child to sleep and imparting knowledge 
-Waiata tangi (laments) 
-Waiata aroha (songs of love) 
-Ngeri / Moteatea (a type of chant) 
-Manawawera (a form of challenge) 
-Waiata poi 
-Waiata a Ringa 
-Apakura: A lament for the dead sung during mourning ceremonies.

It can support a speaker, or give an opinion about what was thought about his speech, the content or the way it was delivered.
I remember opening the NZAC Counsellors Hui once and my friend, Kyla and her mate said that once after a speaker spoke on their behalf and they sung a child's song in English! 

Luckily I must have done an o.k job because the song supporting me was in Maori and a little more depth than a play thing!

I was at my friends mum's tangi, (Haere whaea ki ou tipuna) and we were welcomed into the dinning room by the hunga kainga (people of the house -those whose marae it was) with a very warm and high spirited waiata to lift our spirits after being at the burial. It was beautiful. I also sung a waiata tangi or grief lullaby to her at the grave side from where I come from (Hokianga). So in a short space of words and time you can see the many ways and importance of waiata.

Ma te Atua koutou e manaaki, e tiaki hoki
May God bless you and keep you.