Māori Concepts

The concept of a tuakana-teina relationship

The tuakana-teina relationship, an integral part of traditional Māori society, provides a model for buddy systems. An older or more expert tuakana (brother, sister or cousin) helps and guides a younger or less expert teina (originally a younger sibling or cousin of the same gender). In a learning environment that recognises the value of ako, the tuakana–teina roles may be reversed at any time. For example, the student who yesterday was the expert on te wā and explained the lunar calendar may need to learn from her classmate today about how manaakitanga (hospitality) is practised by the local hapū.

  • How is this concept practised in your hub?
  • How could you offer your help for something you know about? 
  • Do you know who you could go to, other than a teacher, to get help with your learning? 

Take your time over the next few weeks to be resourceful and find out who could help you with your learning, and to think about what you could help others with. It doesn't have to be in the hub, it could be outside in the playground - is there a game you can play well? Are you good on the monkey bars and could show someone else? Are you good at making friends and could help include others?

The concept of a whanaungatanga is all about building relationships and working together.

The relationship that develops as a result of manaakitanga (treating others as you would like to be treated) – the strength of the group – see people as people not just their role, working collaboratively and collectively.

It is a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the kin group.

  • How is this concept practised in your hub?
  • How could you build relationships with your peers and teachers? 
  • Do you treat others as you would like to be treated?

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter – late May or early June. For many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year. Matariki literally means the 'eyes of god' (mata ariki) or 'little eyes' (mata riki).

Watch these great readings of Matariki books.

Literally, manaakitanga means to “care for a person’s mana” (well-being, in a holistic sense). On a marae, it is often claimed that it is not what is said that matters but how people are looked after. This is the essence of manaakitanga.

Manaakitanga also includes the respect we give to elders. Our elders are responsible for the manaakitanga (care) of the entire group connected to a marae. The manaakitanga they give is based on their knowledge, life experience, and wisdom.

You've heard of 'Respect your elders', and 'Put other people before yourself'. When your teacher reminds you to use your manaakitanga, that is what they are saying to you.

Have a quick reflection and ask yourself if you: 

  • Hold the door open for your teachers and friends? 
  • Don't rush to be the first to get a worksheet, or lining up, by letting others go before you? 
  • Let you friends go first in a game, and wait for your turn? 
  • If you do these things, you are using your manaakitanga!

Generally speaking, tikanga are Māori customary practices or behaviours. The concept is derived from the Māori word ‘tika’ which means ‘right’ or ‘correct’ so, in Māori terms, to act in accordance with tikanga is to behave in a way that is culturally proper or appropriate.