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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 8 (December 1, 1933)


A further series of whakatauki, the proverbial sayings embodying poetical thoughts, the traditions, wit and philosophy of the olden Maori.

E tangi ana te pipi-wharauroa: “Kui, kui, whitiwhiti-ora, tio-o!” (The shining cuckoo now is heard, it cries—“Kui, kui, shine, shine and live—tio-o!” The summer-time high whistling call of the migrant bird which Alfred Domett called “lackey of the golden summer, sunattendant.”)

E kata ana nga puriri o Taiamai. (The puriri trees of Taiamai are laughing joyfully. A Ngapuhi saying of felicitation. Taiamai is the beautiful heart of the north, the country about Ohaeawai and Lake Omapere. This expression, used to express congratulations and typify happiness and content, will be heard in poetical speeches at the large gathering of tribes at Waitangi, Bay of Islands, in the New Year.)

E mua, ata haere; e muri, whatiwhati waewae. (Those who make an early start on a journey may travel leisurely; those who delay and come after have to hurry up at the risk of breaking their legs.)

Ahakoa kaore he kai, ko te ahi e ka ana. (Though we may have no food, the fire is burning. A philosophical consolation; make the best of things.)

He rukuruku na Whakaotirangi. Also: Ko te putea iti a Whakaotirangi. (The little basket of Whakaotirangi. This refers to a chieftainess who on the voyage from Hawaiki to New Zealand saved only one small basket of kumara for seed, from which large crops were raised. Sometimes quoted by way of excuse when giving a guest only a small quantity of food.)