He tangata takahi manuhiri, he marae puehu
A person who mistreats his guest has a dusty marae (the marae is an open area in front of the meeting house, and sometimes includes buildings)
Or in a non marae context:
“A lack of hospitality shown to others is a reflection on us all”
In this post I unpack the word ‘manaaki’ and share my thoughts to help us truly understand its rich meaning. Some of this kōrero is adapted from a manaakitanga philosophy shared by Te Wānanga o Raukawa.
Let’s first look at the kupu to attain some understanding
Within te reo, a word has many dimensions, layers, and depth. Looking at ‘manaaki’ and the parts that form this word, provides some deeper insights:
Manaaki (to protect, look after, and care for something or someone)
Mana-aki (to encourage or to enhance one’s authority)
Mana-a-kī (to be true to your word and what you say)
There are numerous examples of manaakitanga that are and can be expressed more often in your school or workplace
- Catering for everyone’s needs, both physically, familially, mentally, and spiritually (Te Whare Tapawha)
- Considering manuhiri (visitors/guests) in the offering of the kind of manaakitanga well known on marae and practiced at your school/workplace
- Giving people time to share knowledge, reo, and skills with each other.
When manaakitanga is truly understood and embraced, staff and learners support each other. They are respectful of every person, their whānau, hapū, and iwi with whom they have contact, directly or indirectly throughout their lives.
The concept of manaakitanga and its relevance to the behaviour of kaimanaaki has some very specific applications for others
Consider the following of your physical space:
- treatment of equipment – the abuse of this is contrary to manaakitanga and does not reflect rangatira behaviour
- being mindful of the needs of others to use equipment. This is very easy to forget, but especially important when the piece is sorely needed
- interfering with the property of others, without their permission
- intruding into another person’s space, or taking another person’s belongings and so on without authority are not the actions of a rangatira.
Each of these is a breach of the rangatiratanga of the person whose space or property is being interfered with, and each is a denial of manaakitanga.
Other practical ways we can show manaaki:
- Using appropriate recognition when borrowing the work of others, for example images, presentations, whakatauākī/ whakataukī
- To be respectful of other people’s spiritual beliefs and values, for example, using karakia
- To manaaki, uphold and uplift te reo Māori/ te reo rangatira, or any reo for that matter, in what we say, how we say it, how it is used, what is appropriate and what is inappropriate.
- Are your views personal, or a reflection of your school/workplace values and beliefs?
- When we joke, do others find it offensive, derogatory, or even racist? Are we aware of these things? How do we know?
The ability to bring together an iwi (people) is seen to be the work of rangatira and a true sign of manaakitanga. The role of maintaining manaakitanga is that of all the iwi.
Te mahi a te rangatira, he whakatira i te iwi
The work of a rangatira (ranga=weave, tira=group) is to unite the people
What other ways have you consciously embraced the value of manaakitanga in your place?