by Haani Huata, Kairuruku – Ako Wānanga, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa
“Tēnā koutou e ngā matatini,
e ngā mumu reo, e ngā iwi o te ao”
Greetings to the many faces, to the languages and the peoples of the world. I am a wahine Māori-Māori woman from Aotearoa-New Zealand. I have been fortunate to have grown up deeply immersed in my culture and language. Although English is my first language, as it is with the majority of Māori people, te reo Māori (the Māori language) is who I am and what makes me, me!
Our language, te reo Māori (the Māori language) often alludes to nature , to the elements, to the flora, to the fauna, to the sky and to the sea to describe the way we behave with and react to each other.
“Nature as a Metaphor” is how we often describe the way we engage with TetraMap. Using nature as a metaphor has been a natural form of expression for Māori (indigenous people of NZ) since time immemorial. We have a saying that says “he iti te kupu, he nui te mana” – “a few words can say so much”. This is why I often like to use our whakataukī (proverb) to make a point, to remind us of our ancestors ways, to acknowledge something or someone or to encourage others.
Earth – Whenua
“Whatungarongaro te tangata, toitū te whenua” – man/woman is lost, but the land will always remain firm– this reminds us that we are only kaitiaki (caretakers) of this land for the generations to come and is often used to remind us of our short time here and what our koha (contribution) will be to future generations.
Air – Hā
“Me aro ki te hā o te tangata” – be aware of those around you and the air they breathe – reminds us to respect those around us, and their ideas or processes. I like to use this when working with WAWLT as it encourages people to dial up and down, and to acknowledge other processes.
Water – Wai
“He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka” – a canoe that navigates the choppy seas – despite the barriers or conflict, this person has managed to bring the canoe to calmer seas. I use this to describe someone who or something that has the ability to reduce conflict and leverage diversity.
Fire – Ahi
“Tutungia te hatete o te reo” – stoke the fires of desire to learn the language – this motivates our language learners, and describes the journey like a fire from ignition to explosion. I use this to ingnite the passion and motivate anyone learning our language – our vision to have te reo Māori become a natural part of every New Zealander’s life!
When bringing all the elements together, I like to use this whakataukī (proverb) with the wooden TetraMap;
“Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini kē!”
my strength is not the strength of one (element) but of many (all elements)!
This is one of the many reasons I love TetraMap as it allows me to incorporate my language into the way I talk about TetraMap and just allows me to be my Māori self, unapologetically!