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Kaumātua – Māori elders

by Rawinia Higgins and Paul Meredith

He whakahirahira te hunga kaumātua ki te whānau me te iwi, tae atu ki te mau o ngā kōrero me te mātauranga, te arataki, me te ārahi haere i ngā whakatipuranga e heke mai nei.


Kaumātua and their role

Ko ngā kaumātua te hunga pakeke o te ao Māori. Ko te hunga tāne ka kīa he koroua, ko ngā mea wāhine ka kīa he kuia.

Ka eke te tangata ki te kaumātuatanga i runga i tōna pakeke, tōna mātau ki ngā kōrero tuku iho ā-iwi, me tōna tūnga ake hei kanohi kitea mā ngā whakatipuranga ō muri. Ki te eke te pakeke o te tangata ki ngā tau pokapū o te 60, kua eke ia ki te ahungarua. He rite tonu nā tōna pakeke ka kīa te tangata he kaumātua, heoi nā ngā pūkenga me ngā pūmanawa rangatira o ētahi, kua tū mai i te wā e rangatahi tonu ana.

Ngā ingoa kaumātua

Hāunga anō te kupu kaumātua, arā kē atu ngā kupu ā-iwi mō te kaumātua, kuia, koroua rānei. Anei ētahi tauira:

Tipuna/tupuna, matua tupuna.

Koroua, tipuna matua/tupuna matua, kauheke, koroheke, koro, koko, karanipā, koeke, korokoroua poua.

Kuia: tipuna wahine/tupuna wahine, karanimā/karanimāmā, perekōu, taua, ruruhi, ruahine, kui, kuikuia, ngoingoi.

Tūranga kaumātua i te taupori

Ka tū hirahira tonu te hunga kaumātua i roto i te ao Māori i runga i ō rātou takatūnga me te mātauranga kua kohia e rātou i runga i te wā. Kia taipakeke rawa kātahi ka poua te mana ki a ia me tōna kawe tonu i ōna i tūmanako ai. Ka rapua mai rātou hei tohutohu i ngā tūmomo mahi o ia rā, ā, pō noa ki ngā whakahaerenga me ngā kawa tapu o te Māori. Ka karangahia rātou e te iwi kia whakatūtuki i ētahi mahi mō te whānau me te matua iwi hoki.

Te tūranga kaumātua

He wāhi nui tō te kaumātua ki te ārahi haere. Inā koa ko ngā kaumātua ngā ūpoko o te whānau, ā ka taka ki a rātou te whakatau take whenua; ngā whakahaere me te whakamahinga o ngā taonga whānau; te whāngai me te whakaako i ngā tamariki, tae atu ki te tū hei māngai mō te whānau ki te rūnanga a te iwi.

Whāia ake, mā ngā kaumātua e tirotiro ngā tamariki i ngā wā e mahi ana ngā matua, e tū ana rānei rātou ki te pakanga. Mai anō e tūturu ana te whāngai o ngā kaumātua i te mokopuna mātāmua. Ko ngā kaumātua tonu ngā whare o te kōrero, whakapapa, mātauranga hoki.

Ngā panonitanga

Nā te oranga roa ake o te tangata kua rerekē te pakeke o te tangata kaumātua. I mua i te noho Pākehā, he kaumātua te tangata i roto i ōna tau 40, ā, ko ētahi e 30 noa iho te pakeke.

I te ngahuru tau 1980, ka karanga te tari kāwanatanga i tētahi hui kaumātua, ā, ka whakaturea te pakeke kaumātua mō tērā hui ko te 70 neke atu. Nō konā ka mahue mai tētahi o ngā kaumātua rongonui o Ngāpuhi a Haimona Snowden, kei ngā tau 60 noa iho.


Kaumātua in early traditions

Kei roto i ngā kōrero tīpuna a te Māori e kōrerotia ai te hunga kaumātua me tā rātou whakatipu, whakatō hoki i te mātauranga ki ngā whakareanga.

Kaumātua o Māui

Kei ngā kōrero katoa mō Māui rāngona ai te mana tipua me te mana tuku iho o ōna kaumātua. Ka whiua e Taranga tāna tamaiti a Māui ki te moana, ā, nō muri ka kitea mai e tana koroua ko Tamanui-ki-te-rangi, i tōna paenga tātahi i roto i te tikitiki o tōna whaea. Ka whakapakeketia te mokopuna rā e Tamanui-ki-te-rangi me te whakaheke ki roto ki a ia ngā tauparapara me ngā karakia o te moana me te waonui.

Nāwai ka tūpono a Māui ki tana kuia ki a Muriranga-whenua, ā, ka tukuna ki a ia tōna kauae i whakamahia e ia ki te hī ake i te ikawhenua nei me te patu i a Tamanui-te-Rā. Nā Māui hangarau anō i tinihanga te kuia a Mahuika mō te taonga o te ahi. I te otinga, ka whakamātau a Māui te kimi i te mauri o te mate me te patu i tērā o ana kuia a Hine-nui-te-pō. Heoi ka kūkūtia iho a Māui ā ngaro noa.

He waiata mō ngā tamariki e kata ana ki te kaumātua kua hina

E whai atu nei ko te waiata a tētahi kaumātua, mō ētahi tamariki i kata ki a ia mō tōna hina. Mō tōna hinana, ka whakataukī ake ia, ‘Ngā taru o Tura’.

Waiho rā ia nei au, e koro mā,

Māku au e haere, ki mua o te ara, whanga mai ai,

Ka tata ki a koe, ngā taru o Tura,

Ko te hina, ko te mate, te whanga iho nei,

Ka poro rā hoki taku akutotanga,

Ka taiapo rawa mai, ngā karukaru, nō Kahutauranga,

Waiho noa e raro, kia takoto ana,

Hei mātakitaki mai ki a au, e-i-i.

Tāwhaki

Kei ngā kōrero mō Tāwhaki, ka kake rāua ko tana taina ko Karihi ki te toi o ngā rangi. I mua i te ekenga, ka tūpono ki tō rāua kuia matakerepō, ko Whaitiri. I te pū rangiaho mata i ngā mahi a ana mokopuna, ka tohua rāua e Whaitiri ki hea rāua piki ai ki te rangi tūhāhā.

Toi me Whātonga

E rongohia anō ai te aroha o te kaumātua ki te mokopuna i ngā kōrero mō Toi. Ka tū a Whātonga rāua ko tana hoa ko Tūrāhui ki te whakataetae waka ama i te awa i Pikopikoiwhiti, ki Hawaiki. I te whakaterenga atu ka pūhia rāua e te āwha ki waho ki te moana uriuri. Nā tōna māharahara ki tāna mokopuna, ka whakatika atu a Toi ki te rangahau kei hea ia, ā, ngaru hinga atu hinga mai ka tau rawa mai ki Aotearoa.

Tura

Tērā hoki te kōrero mō te tipuna mō Tura, i tāna haere ki tētahi motu i te nōhia e tētahi iwi tē koroheketia. Ka moe wāhine ia ā nāwai ka kitea kua hina tōna uru. Ka whiua te pātai ki tērā āhua, ā, ka whakahokia ko te hina, ko te mate tērā. Inā hoki tōna whakatauāki: ‘Ka tata ki a koe ngā taru o Tura, ko te hina, ko te mate.’


Kaumātua as repositories of knowledge and nurturers

Ngā whare kōrero

I ngā wā o mua ko ngā kaumātua tonu ngā whare pupuri kōrero ā-iwi, whakapapa, tuku iho hoki. Ko ngā kaikōrero mātau ka whakanōhia ki runga i ngā paepae marae. Ka taka ki a rātou ngā mahi tā kawa, taki hoki i ngā kawenga tapu. Ka anga atu rā te mātātahi ki te hunga kaumātua hei whakamārama kōrero, hei tautiaki, hei whakanoho i ngā ture me ngā tikanga ā te iwi.

Ngā kaipupuri tikanga

E whai ake nei ko tā Hirini Mead mō te tūranga o te kaumātua ki te tiaki i ngā tikanga Māori: ‘Older individuals generally have a greater familiarity with and knowledge about tikanga because they have participated in tikanga, have observed interpretations of the tikanga at home and other tribal areas. The kaumātua and kuia, the elders, are often the guardians of tikanga.’ (Ka mārama ake te hunga kaumātua ki te mātauranga me ngā tikanga Māori, inā hoki kua rumakina rātou ki ngā tikanga, kua kite hoki rātou i te whakahaerenga o ēnei tikanga ki ō rātou kāinga, rohe maha. I te nuinga o te wā ko ngā kaumātua tonu ngā kaipupuri tikanga).1

Ngā pēpeha mō te kaumātua

Anei ētahi whakataukī e pā ana ki te kaumātua:

‘Ka eke anō i te puke ki Ruahine.’ E nanaiore ana tētahi i runga i te pae o Ruahine. I te mātanga o te pae o Ruahine e te hukarere, e kīa ana kua kōeke.

‘He rākau tawhito, e mau ana te taitea i waho rā, e tū te kōhiwi.’ He kōrero tēnei mō te kaumātua, arā ahakoa te heke o te tinana, e mauri tau tonu ai tōna wairua.

‘Rākau papa pānga ka hei ki te marae.’ Arā ko te rākau ka whiua ki te taha, ka taea te whakairo tuarua anō hei rākai ki te marae. He kōrero tēnei mō te hunga pakeke kua pūkenga i a rātou tētahi mahi engari kua kotoremomoe. Ka āhei rātou ki te whakaheke i ērā pūkenga ki te rangatahi.

‘Ngā taru o Tura.’ He kōrero tēnei mō te hina me te kaumātuatanga.

‘Ka haere te matatahi, ka noho te matapuputu.’2

Waiata oriori

Tāpiri anō ko tētahi momo whakaheke mātauranga ko te waiata oriori. He mea tito ēnei e te kaumātua mō tāna mokopuna hou. Ka hoki ngā kupu o ēnei waiata ki ngā kōrero tuku iho me ngā whakapapa a tōna iwi, hei whakamaharatanga ake mā te tamaiti rā ki ōna kawenga mā te iwi. Ko Hinekitawhiti o Te Auiti tērā i tito i tana waiata oriori mō tāna mokopuna kōhine mō Ahuahukiterangi, e noho mai nā i te takiwā o Te Ariuru ki Tokomaru. I roto i te oriori nei ka puta te oha a te kuia ki tana mokopuna, me te whakatau ake i ōna kārangaranga maha atu i Tokomaru huri noa ki Raukōkore. Ka whakarērea hoki āna tohutohu mō ngā rangatira ā-iwi me ngā tohu whenua o tōna takiwā.

Te kōwhiri tauira

Kāre ngā kaumātua tae rawa ki ngā kuia i tuku mātauranga ki ngā tamariki mā te waha anake, engari i whakaputaina hoki e rātou ki ngā tini mahinga katoa. Hei ngā wā takitahi kua tohua tētahi tamaiti i tūmanakohia ai mō te ako. Ka hoki a Pei Te Hurinui Jones ki te wā e tai ana ia i te taha o tana koroua i a Te Hurinui Te Wano ā tae noa ki tōna matenga i te tau 1911. He nui ngā hui me ngā rūnanga ā-iwi i whai haere ai rāua puta noa i te motu. Ko te nuinga o ngā kōrero tuku iho i a Pei Te Hurinui he mea whāngai e tōna koroua.

Kaumātua whāngai

I ngā wā e karangahia ana ngā mātua ki te mahi, ki te pakanga rānei, ko ngā kaumātua e nānā ana i ngā tamariki. He tikanga anō kia riro mā ngā kaumātua anō te mātāmua e opeope e riro ki a ia ngā kōrero tuku iho me ngā whakapapa. He nui noa atu te hunga tamariki ka whakapakekehia e o rātou kaumātua ki o rātou kāinga anō.

Taura here kaumātua-mokopuna

Ko ngā kaumātua pea te hunga i kitea nui ai e ngā tamariki. I tūhonotia ai te hononga o te kaumātua me te mokopuna i runga i te manaakitanga me te aroha, me te whakaoko tohutohu hoki. Ka hoki ngā mahara a Te Rangi Hīroa: ‘When I was told that an aged visitor whom I had never seen before was a tipuna to me, my heart warmed towards him. I placed him in the same category as my other tipuna who resided in the same village and had lavished affection upon me. He was a member of the family'  (Pēnā ka kīa mai ahau he tipuna tētahi kaumātua manene nōku, ka rata tōku ngākau ki a ia. Ka whakaaro nui au mōna, anō nei he kaumātua ia o te kāinga tonu nei nā rātou au i poipoi. He whānau tonu ia).3

Footnotes
    • Hirini Moko Mead, Tikanga Māori: living by Māori values. Te Whanganui-a-Tara: Huia, 2003, wh. 14. Back
    • Hirini Moko Mead rāua ko Neil Grove, Ngā pēpeha a ngā tīpuna. Te Whanganui-a-Tara: Victoria University Press, 2001. Back
    • Te Rangi Hīroa, The coming of the Maori. 2nd ed. Te Whanganui-a-Tara: Maori Purposes Fund Board and Whitcombe and Tombs, 1950, wh. 342. Back

Kaumātua and leadership

Rangatiratanga

Ko ngā kaumātua, tāne mai wahine mai, ngā kaiārahi o te whānau. I pūtahi te mana o te whānau ki ngā mātāmua, arā ngā mea mātau rawa hei akiaki i ngā tōmuri. Kei ngā kaumātua anō te whakatau whakamutunga mō te taha ki ngā take whenua whānau, ngā taonga ā-whānau, te whakatipu me te whakaako i ngā tamariki. Ko rātou anō ngā māngai o ngā whānau ki ngā rūnanga.

Tūranga kaumātua ki te rūnanga

He tūranga whai hiranga tō ngā kaumātua ki te rūnanga. Nō te tau 1805 ka tae mai te tohunga poka tinana a John Savage ki Aotearoa. E rua ngā marama e noho ana ia ki Pēwhairangi, ka hoki ia ki Ingarangi me tētahi Māori, ko Moehanga te ingoa. Ko ia te Māori tuatahi kia tae ki Ingarangi. Ka kite ia: ‘The elders have great weight in the councils of the chiefs, and in all affairs, excepting those of a military description, they decide independently of them, though the authority of the chiefs would undoubtedly enable them to prevent the elders from carrying any projected measure into execution, should they feel disposed to exert this authority’ (He nui te mana o te kaumātua ki ngā rūnanga o ngā rangatira, ki ngā take katoa, hāunga ngā take tauā, ahakoa e āhei tonu te mana o te rangatira te haukoti mahi kaumātua inā hiahia ai).1

Taumau

Ka uru anō te kaumātua ki ngā whakahaerenga o te tikanga taumau. He wā kua tū te kaumātua i roto i te hui me te rāhui i te mokopuna tamaiti mō te taumau. Ka tūtakina tēnei tikanga hei paihere ā-whānau, hapū, iwi hoki. He wā anō kua kōrero tētahi ki tana kaumātua i mua i te tono atu. Pēnā ka whakaaetia e tērā kaumātua, kua wātea ia te moe hoa.

Whakatau totohe

Ka whai mana anō te kaumātua ki ngā whakahaerenga o te hapori, me te whakawā raruraru. Ki te puta te totohe i ētahi hunga, kua tahuri rātou ki te rapu i ngā whakaaro āwhina o te kaumātua. Ka kōrero a Merimeri Penfold mō te whakawā a ōna kaumātua i te hunga ka taka ki te hē i ngā tau 1930: ‘Every Sunday they would have this gathering of elders and bring up elements that need to be addressed by them – like these guys who had been tampering with Māori tapu or raiding the hen run … this is the talk around the family, everybody knows about [the family member involved] and he was brought to meet the elders after church and that was sort of punishment, too' (Ia Rātapu kua hui katoa ngā kaumātua me te whakaputa ake i ētahi āhuatanga hei tirotiro mā te iwi – pērā i te hunga tānoanoa tapu, i ērā rānei ka whānako heihei ... koinei ngā kōrero e karapoti nei i te whānau, e mōhiotia ana te mea hara, ā, ka mauria ki te aroaro o ngā kaumātua hāhi, me tā rātou whiriwhiri whakawhiunga mōna). 2

Footnotes
    • John Savage, Some account of New Zealand: particularly the Bay of Islands, and surrounding country: with a description of the religion and government, language, arts, manufactures, manners, and customs of the natives. Rānana: J. Murray, 1807, wh. 29. Back
    • Nena Benton, ‘Interview with Merimeri Penfold, 12 July 2002.’ Te Pū Wānanga Transcript 8, Te Matahauariki Institute, University of Waikato. Back

Kaumātua in modern times

Noho momotu

I te hekenga ki ngā taone i te pito o te rautau 1900, ka motu te aka matua o te tikanga. Kua whākī ake ētahi kaumātua ahakoa tōna tikanga kua mau ki ngā kōrero tuku iho me ngā tikanga he kuare kē nō rātou ki ngā kōrero a ō rātou kaumātua ake inā kē hoki he ware he kore mau rānei i te wā e rangatahi tonu ana: ‘Gone are the days when we could, but didn't often bother to, sit and listen, as beautiful words and phrases flowed forth from a heart and mind, well versed in the things of his generation and with songs that were history and geography in themselves! … A new era has dawned for us!—“Ka pu te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi.”' (Kua taha ngā rā i āhei ai he noho taringa kōhatu hoki mātou ki ngā kupu taurangi e maringi mai ana i te hinengaro me te whatumanawa o tērā reanga mātau rawa ki ngā waiata me ngā kōrero tuku iho! ... Kua takiri ake he ata hou mō mātou!– “Ka pū te rūhā, ka hao te rangatahi.”)1

Te whakaheke kōrero mātauranga

Nō te tau 1907 ka kite a Te Rangi Hīroa i te pueatanga ake o tēnei raru nui, me tōna īnoi ki ngā kaumātua Māori kia tuku iho i ā rātou kōrero:

[K]aua e kaiponutia nga taonga a o tatou tupuna. Tukuna mai ... Ma kona ka mau tonu ai a tatou korero, ka mahue iho ai hei koha ki nga uri e tipu ake nei, kei moumou te hari atu a nga kaumatua ki te reinga a ka mahue kupu kore matou nga mokopuna.2

Kaumātua ā-waea

Mai i waenga o te ngahuru tau 1980 kua kaha te karanga a ngā tari kāwanatanga i ngā kaumātua ki te hautū whakaritenga, pērā i te karakia, te tā whare me te pōwhiri kia kitea ai te ngana kia Māori ake te āhua. Ka whakapae ētahi pēnā rānei he mana tō tēnei mahi, he mahi karetao noa iho rānei. Nō reira kīa ai tērā mahi e te hunga whakapae he ‘Kaumātua ā-waea’.

He whakataunga

Kei ētahi wāhi kua mahue mai ki te reanga ō muri te whanake ki te whakakī i ngā whārua o ngā kaumātua. Kei ā ētahi iwi he whakapūpū i a rātou whare kōrero kaumātua. Ka mutu ko Te Arataki Manu Kōrero o Tainui tērā, arā, te kaupapa i kōkiritia e te kaumātua o Ngāti Maniapoto a Tui Adams hei whākao i ō Tainui kaumātua, i ā Tainui tikanga, i ōna hītori hoki e iere tonu ai ngā kōrero tuku iho me te āhua o Tainui.

E noho tonu ana te hunga kaumātua hei pakihiwi kaha mō Ngāi Māori, me te mana Māori. Nā Mason Durie te kōrero: ‘The standing of a tribe, its mana … relates more to the visible presence and authority of its elders … it is the older generation who carry the status, tradition and integrity of their people' (Ko te āhua o te iwi, me tōna mana ... kei te kanohi kitea me te mana o ōna kaumātua rangatira ... ko te reanga ō mua tērā e kawe nei i ngā tikanga me te mana o te iwi).3

Whare noho kaumātua

Nō te tekau tau 1970 ka tīmata te whakatūtū haere i ngā whare noho kaumātua. I te tau 1975, ka puta te kōrero a te Minita Māori a Matiu Rata mō te kaupapa o ngā whare nei: ‘[T]he desire to keep our elders where they become the ones who keep our maraes, our communities and our lands warm with their presence. Not for us the Eventide homes, the boarding houses where the elderly are put on their own, the communities consisting solely of the aged and the infirm. Elders are part of the community … The need for them as the link between the old and the new and as the stabilising group which will perpetuate Māoritanga is greater now than ever before' (He āwhero tēnei kia noho ko te hunga kaumātua tonu ngā kaitiaki o ngā marae, ngā kāinga me ngā kaipupuri i te ahikāroa. Kāre ngā kāinga Eventide mō mātou, ngā whare poari rānei ki reira noho momotu ai, e nōhia kē ana ēnei hapori e te kauheke anake me te hunga ngoikore. Me whai wāhi tonu te hunga kaumātua ki roto i te hapori ... Ko ngā kaumātua hei hononga i te ao tawhito me te ao hou, otirā i āianei he nui atu te whai take o tēnei tūāhua mō te ao Māori).4

Footnotes
    • Roa Paki, ‘Ka pu te ruha ka hao te rangatahi.’ Te Ao Hou 15 (Hōngongoi 1956), wh. 9. Back
    • Te Rangi Hiroa, ‘Tahu Tupapaku.’ Te Pipiwharauroa 115 (1907), wh. 10. Back
    • Mason Durie, ’Kaumātuatanga. Reciprocity: Māori elderly and whānau.’ New Zealand Journal of Psychology 28, nama 2 (Hakihea 1999), wh. 102. Back
    • I takoto ki ‘Kaumatua flats opened at Manutuke.’ Te Ao Hou 76 (Pipiri 1975), wh. 42. Back

Hononga, rauemi nō waho

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How to cite this page: Rawinia Higgins and Paul Meredith, 'Kaumātua', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/kaumatua/print (accessed 16 November 2019)

He kōrero nā Rawinia Higgins and Paul Meredith, i tāngia i te 5 May 2011