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April 3, 2016 | by  | in Māori Matters |
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Māori Matters

The closest equivalent to taboo in Māoridom is the concept of tapu. For people who have had the fortune of being raised with tikanga and whakaaro Māori, the meaning of tapu is far broader and deeper than what English definitions entail. Tapu exists everywhere and many things are intrinsically tapu, whether it be a living thing, an object, or even certain events or occassions.

Ki te ao Māori, ko te taboo he āhua rite tonu ki te tapu. Mā te hunga kua taipakeke mai i te ao Māori me ōna tikanga, kua mārama kē ki ngā mea me ngā whakaaro tapu, heoi ka pōkaikaha ki tōna te whakamāramatanga.Ko te tapu kei ngā wāhi katoa, mai i ngā mea ora, ki nga taputapu, tae rawa ki ētahi kaupapa, hui rānei.

Tapu goes hand-in-hand with the concept of noa.  Many mistake noa as something which cancels out tapu, however they are more relatable to the concept of yin and yang where both are necessary and, when applied appropriately, they balance each other out.  Certain things or situations like tangihanga are set in a realm of heightened tapu and when people remove themselves from the area of tapu, a process of whakanoa is appropriate (usually by sprinkling water on oneself or indulging in kai) so that they do not carry the tapu with them.

He mea haere-tahi te tapu me te noa.  Ko te pōhēhē a ētahi, ko te noa he mea whakakore i te tapu, heoi anō he mea taurite kē.  He tata tōna momo ki te tikanga o te yin me te yang, arā, ki te kore tētahi, ka kore tērā atu.  Ki te nui anō te tapu, pērā i ngā wā o te tangihanga, ka whāia he rautaki whakanoa (hiki tapu ranei) kia mawehe te tinana o te tangata, te tapu o te tangata ki te tapu o te mate.

Much of tikanga Māori is governed by the concept of tapu and many Māori live their lives in accordance with tapu.  From not sitting on tables or pillows to doing karakia to open and close hui, tapu dictates our behaviour in accordance with the teachings of our tipuna for the purposes of lifting negativity and clearing the way for future activities.

He tokomaha te hunga ka whai i ngā tikanga hāngai ki te tapu.  Ko ngā tikanga pērā i te whakatika i te hunga noho ki runga tēpu, pira ranei me te tuku karakia i ngā hui, he mea whai i ngā akoranga a kui mā, a koro mā kia hiki i ngā tapu kino, kia whakapapa pounamu anō hoki i te huarahi kei mua.

 

Na Taylor Wanakore

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