Proverbs are very common in Māori.
Whakataukī are proverbs that the person who first said it first, is not known.
Whakatauākī are proverbs where the person who said it first is known.
We have added a section of Māori proverbs or whakataukī that you can learn and use.
Ka mate kāinga tahi ka ora kāinga rua.
(When one home fails, have another to go to. Have two strings to your bow.)
E mua kaikai, e muri kai huare.
(Early arrivals have the pick, but late comers may only get spittal)
Toitū he kāinga, whatu ngarongaro he tangata.
(While the land remains the inhabitants are gone)
He kōtuku rerenga tahi.
(The white heron that makes one flight only (Said of a chief).)
Waiho ma te tangata e mihi, kia tau ai.
(It would be better to let others praise.)
Ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi.
(The old net is cast aside, while the new net goes a-catching.)
He iti hoki te mokoroa nāna i kakati te kahikatea.
(The mokoroa (grub) may be small, but it cuts through the Kahikatea (whitepine).)
Ngaro atu he tētēkura, whakaeke mai he tētēkura.
(When one chief disappears another is ready to appear. No one is indispensable.)
Moe ana te mata hī tuna, ara ana te kitaua.
( Eel catchers may sleep but sentries do not.)
Mauri mahi, mauri ora; mauri noho, mauri mate.
(Industry begets prosperity (security); idleness begets poverty (insecurity).)
He urunga tangata he urunga pāhekeheke, he urunga oneone, mau tonu.
(To rest on human support is unreliable, to rest on terra-firma is sure.)
He wāhine, he whenua, ka ngaro te tangata.
(For a woman and land, men perish.)
Tama tu, tama ora; tama noho, tama mate kai.
(He who stands lives; he who sits, perishes.)
He aha te kai ō te rangatira? He Kōrero, he kōrero, he kōrero.
(What is the food of the leader. It is knowledge. It is communication.)
Kia mate ururoa, kei mate wheke.
(Fight like a shark, don’t give in like an octopus.)
Ahakoa iti, he pounamu.
(Although it is small, it is of greenstone.)
E kore te pātiki e hoki ki tōna puehu.
(The flounder does not go back to the mud it has stirred.)
Toku toa, he toa rangatira
(My bravery is inherited from the chief who were my forebears)
He au kei uta e taea te karo, he au kei te moana e kore e taea.
(You may dodge smoke (au) on land, but you cannot dodge current at sea.)
He maroro kokati ihu waka.
(The flying-fish that cuts across the bow of the canoe. – Considered a bad omen.)
Hōhonu kaki, pāpaku nana.
(Deep at eating but shallow at work.)
He ihu kurī, he tangata haere.
(As a dog follows a scent, a wayfarer looks for an open door.)
Waikato taniwha rau: he piko, he taniwha, he piko he taniwha.
((Waikato) Waikato of a hundred taniwha every bend there is a taniwha.)
He manako te koura i kore ai.
(Crayfish are scarce when they are expected. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.)