Ngā Whāinga – Challenges for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2021 – Get talking

This year for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, the Māori Services team shares some whakataukī and ideas around keeping well.

Ko te kai a te rangatira he kōrero

The food of chiefs is dialogue.

This whakataukī is a very popular and well known one that uses metaphor to emphasise the importance of dialogue and language.

How can this be though because someone surely can’t survive just on speaking - they’ll get tired and hungry for actual food?

Well, this is making clear to us how important speaking with one another and our language is to Māori. If we aren’t speaking our language, then how can we communicate and sustain the community? We need the dialogue between one another just like we need food for our bodies to grow.

The chiefly aspect is really important here too, this could be our kaumatua, grandparents or any other older person then you. They have lots of life experience and if they’re anything like my kaumatua then they’ll like telling stories! We can learn a lot from them so finding time to spend time with them and ask questions could be really sustaining for the both of you.

Hei mahi - things to do

  • Invite someone around to your place to share some kōrero and kai! If they live far away then you could video call them and do the same.
  • To continue the metaphor, help someone with some gardening. Harvest the kai while harvesting the kōrero.
  • Here are some books on whakatauki and Māori phrases that are available in eAudiobook and eBook (as well as print) format that you can borrow from our catalogue - perhaps you can share what you learn from these books with someone else.
  • Interview your grandparents or someone older than you.
  • Explore the website Te Kai a te Rangatira and learn more from some Māori leaders and their wisdom.

Māori Services