powhiri collageI would like to begin this by saying that I am very sorry if I have misunderstood anything discussed and would ask anyone to correct me where they see fit.


I believe this reading sets out to illustrate and demystify the meaning of tikanga.

Before reading this, I did not understand the complexity of tikanga and the implications of it. My only knowledge was in the phrase “Tikanga Maori” which is often heard in New Zealand classrooms during Maori Language Week. However, I was never offered any explanation as to what this actually meant.

Mead’s writing told me that it is made up of two parts: “Tika” and “Pono”. Tika is what is right or correct and seemingly can be affected by external variables. Pono is what is true or genuine. It has an older origin that fixes it in time so what is true will always be true.

The implications of this are then that when tikanga has been broken, there is a three step process leading to reconciliation. This is take – utu – ea.

Take is the breach itself. It must be agreed on that a breach has occurred against tikanga and both parties have to recognise this. Which makes sense to me as it forces you to take ownership of your actions and emotions.

Then there is utu which is an act of recompense. This is done to resolve the breach.

Lastly is ea which is the desired outcome. It is a state of being restored.


There is much more that is involved within tikanaga such as the concepts of whanaungatanga, mana and tapu. However they require much more unpacking then what I am able to do in a small blog post.


Works Cited:

All images are sourced from Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Images

Mead, H. “Nga Putake o te Tikanga. Underlying Principles and Values.” Tikanga Maori: Living by Maori Values, NZ: Huia, 2003, pp. 25-33.


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