Doing things the right way, according to our values
Tikanga is concerned with the safety and protection of the whānau. It is about the rules, customs and rituals that keep whānau safe from harm, both physical and spiritual. Strong whānau live according to their values and beliefs. They have traditions or routines in place to ensure that everything is done in the proper manner.
Te tahuhu o te pito mata
The backbone of the whare tupuna holds the source of all sacred understanding and you are its living face
What is tikanga?
“Tikanga is the little things, but they are important – karakia before going to bed, taking shoes off before going into a whare, and ensuring manuhiri eat first.”
“It’s the way we do things as Māori. It is something that belongs to Māori.”
“It creates a sense of purpose – being wahine toa, being mana wahine, nurturing, sustaining family and whānau.”
“Tikanga is found on a path well-trodden by the experienced and the wise.”
“You are the ornately chiselled face of your ancestors. Let their traditions be your adornment to protect and guide you.”
“The little daily habits and simple routines make for a stress-free home. Repetition in the small things creates mastery in the things that matter.”
“Before you say or do anything, ask yourself three questions: Is it tika (right)? Is it pono (true)? Is it done in aroha (kindness)? If you answer ‘no’ to any of those questions, do not do it, do not say it.”
“Practice your pepeha and mihi – you just never know when you might need to say them.”
Tikanga is concerned with the safety and protection of the whānau. It is about the rules, customs and rituals that keep whānau safe from harm, both physical and spiritual. Tikanga, therefore, provides a reference point for behaviours, customs, and practices from the past, laid down by ancestors for future generations. It emphasises how the past shapes present and future identities, relationships, and behaviours.
This pattern represents the knowledge of rangatira. The pattern is derived from the forehead of the Mataora taa moko. Each side of the face is used to express one’s lineage and ancestry. Usually, these taa moko signify someone of great knowledge and leadership with the skills to weave people together.
This tohu also represents Te Kete Tuatea, one of the baskets of knowledge that contained the process of learning and the purpose of wisdom.
Resources based on Tikanga
E Tū Whānau has developed a number of resources to support whānau exploring and deepening their connection with Tikanga.
Tikanga – this downloadable booklet is one in a series which explores the six E Tū Whānau values.
Sets of the whole series of booklets will be available for ordering in early 2023.
Activities for whānau support whānau to reconnect with Tikanga and to explore other areas that strengthen and build mana.
Visual resources which take a look at Tikanga in action include:
Want to know more?
Read about E Tū Whānau, how the kauapapa includes refugees and migrants, or stories of positive change and growth from whānau across Aotearoa.