'Marry a man with calloused hands'

From Te Ahi Kaa, 6:06 pm on 14 August 2016

Moea he tangata ringa raupa
Marry a man with calloused hands.

hand reaching up

Photo: Ernesto Andrade / CC BY-ND 2.0

In episode three of Te Ahi Kaa's four-part series about whakatauki (proverbial sayings) Justine Murray looks at Moea he tangata ringa raupa.

Episode one - The Sweetness of the Kumara
Episode two - Octopus vs Shark

What is the sign of a good man? Perhaps looking at his hands could be a good start.

This whakatauki can apply to anyone and is not gender-specific, but there is a similar whakatauki for women – Aitia te wahine i roto i te pā harakeke (Marry a woman of the flax bush). This saying refers to the work carried out by industrious women in raranga (weaving).

Dr Wayne Ngata says Moea he tangata ringa raupa is not only about the physical aspects of hard work.

“Marry somebody or be with somebody who is a hard worker in whatever field. We say ringaraupa - that’s physically hardworking. The ringaraupa is not just about hard work, but smart work” - Dr Wayne Ngata.

Dr Wayne Ngata

Dr Wayne Ngata Photo: RNZ / Laura Bootham

Professor Taiarahia Black says this whakatauki encompasses different traits of strength in a person.

“Moea te tangata manaaki. Moea te tangata whakawhanaunga. Moea te tangata, who looks after this wife. Moea te tangata, who is selfless and does not consider himself important but continues to work for his whanau day and night" - Professor Taiarahia Black.

Professor Taiarahia Black says he is a Millennial thinker and whakatauki should evolve.

Professor Taiarahia Black says he is a Millennial thinker and whakatauki should evolve. Photo: RNZ/Justine Murray

Te Wharekura o Tauranga Moana student Kanapa Kerr explains that the term ringa raupa (hardwork) is about young Māori going back at the marae.

“Rangatahi need to step up and go back to their marae, finish off things that were given to us and use them... Ko te tangata ringa raupa he tangata kei nga marae e tautoko ana i tana ake whanau, ki enei ra, kua mimiti haere te puna paepae” - Kanapa Kerr.

Te Wharekura o Tauranga Moana student, Kanapa Kerr

Kanapa Kerr, student from Te Wharekura o Tauranga Moana Photo: RNZ/Justine Murray

Ngāti Rehia Kuia Nora Rameka knows a thing or two about hard work. The 72 year old was born and raised at Te Tii in the Northland. It was a hard life, where home was a simple shack with a dirt floor and no running water or power.

Nora was one of 14 children and remembers her mother ploughing the paddocks while heavily pregnant and her father walking every Sunday just to make it to work in time. It would be a 28km round trip from Te Tii to Waipapa.

Nora Rameka

Nora Rameka Photo: RNZ/Lois Williams

Nora grew up with a love for the land, and was nurtured by the wider community, she says she 'belonged' to everyone. Her family lived off the land, she was one of fourteen children. Nora took these philosophies of hard work from her parents and applied it to her own life.

She became the first Māori to work for the Trade Union Education Authority and assisted Māori workers to know about their rights. This work led to Nora becoming the Authority’s National Co-ordinator.

Her employers sent Nora to the USA to study labour management at ivy league university Harvard. After her work at the Trade Union, Nora was appointed as a Māori Recruitment Advisor at The University of Waikato, which meant she was able to finish her degree in Social Sciences.

Nora became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit at last year’s Queens Birthday Honours for her work in housing and education. Her proudest achievement was restoring the old wharenui at Takou Bay and building papakainga (housing).

International speaker and entrepreneur Ngahihi o te ra Bidios says this whakatauki is about a strong partnership.

Ngahihi O Te Ra Bidois says the strength and work of his wife of 31 years allowed him to forge a career in education.

Photo: RNZ/Justine Murray

Ngahihi credits his wife of 31 years for allowing him to follow his own goals. He trained as a teacher and has worked in most areas of the education sector. Today the budding entrepreneur travels extensively for corporate speaking engagements. Ngahihi says his key motivation is helping people reach their best.