Ancient Word of the Day: Khemeia

Khemeia: The extraction of juices for medicine, from Ancient Greek Related to the word Khumos meaning plant juice. This word khemeia travelled from Greece to the Medieval Arabic world where it came to mean al-khemeia or alchemy. The goal of alchemists was to bring a mystical fifth element known as the ‘quintessence’ from the divineContinue reading “Ancient Word of the Day: Khemeia”

Mana Wahine: The Female Moko in Māori Culture

Tā moko represents a woman’s mana (status or power) and her whakapapa (ancestry and forebears) in society. This is best highlighted by the time when the chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi with their mokos in 1840. The Moko Kauae is a chin tattoo traditional reserved for Māori women with mana (high status and power) and olderContinue reading “Mana Wahine: The Female Moko in Māori Culture”

Ancient Word of the Day: Kawaakari

Kawaakari (Japanese) Kawaakari is a mystical Japanese word that means the glow of a river or stream in darkness or dusk, or the gleaming surface of a shadowed river (Japanese 川明かり). Kawaakari can also mean the reflection of the moonlight off flowing water. Obumbro (Latin) A similar word in Latin in Obumbro. To shadow overContinue reading “Ancient Word of the Day: Kawaakari”

Ancient Word of the Day: Philoxenia

Philoxenia is a word that comes from Ancient Greek. This literally translates to be “friends with a stranger”. Philo – Friend, Xenia – Stranger. In Ancient Greece, hospitality in the same was held as a great virtue. Great honour was bestowed upon guests by the host. If a stranger was to appear on your doorstepContinue reading “Ancient Word of the Day: Philoxenia”

Ancient Word of the Day: Emacitus

Emacitus: The desire to buy things from Latin. The English version of this word ‘Emacity’ fell out of use at the beginning of the 20th Century. This was replaced by less beautiful terms to describe the same thing, such as shopaholic, consumerism and retail therapy. Emacitus derives from the even older Proto-Indo-European word Em YouContinue reading “Ancient Word of the Day: Emacitus”

The Māori legend of two sisters Rehutai and Tangimoana

This painting by Bronwyn Waipuka illustrates a story by Wairarapa kaumātua (elder) Mita Carter. Rehutai and Tangimoana were beautiful twin sisters who lived on the banks of the Ruamāhanga River. They both fell in love with Rautoroa, a handsome warrior, but he could not decide which to marry. Rehutai asked Tangimoana to fetch some water from aContinue reading “The Māori legend of two sisters Rehutai and Tangimoana”

The Māori legend of Pania: Kaitiaki and taniwha of the reef, retold as street art

Pania is the legendary Kaitiaki (guardian/protector) of the reef in local Maori legend and her wairua (spirit) is connected strongly to the moana (ocean) close by to the town of Napier. Legend has it that Pania was a shimmering and iridescently beautiful maiden who lives in the sea and following a human encounter and a brokenContinue reading “The Māori legend of Pania: Kaitiaki and taniwha of the reef, retold as street art”

E Pii, e Paa: A poem by Haare Williams

This week is Māori Language Week/ Te wiki o Te Reo Māori. So I will be sharing some beautiful poems, proverbs and words in Māori and English for you to enjoy. Here is a poem by Haare Williams from his incredible book of wisdom: Words of a Kaumātua. E Pii, e Paa tiny bees swarmingContinue reading “E Pii, e Paa: A poem by Haare Williams”

Book Review: Words of a Kaumātua by Haare Williams

A compelling, rich and lush blend of essay, poetry, reflections and personal stories by one of New Zealand’s most preeminent Māori writers. I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Haare Williams before picking up this book in Te Papa Museum in Wellington. This is a definitive collection of Māori wisdom that isContinue reading “Book Review: Words of a Kaumātua by Haare Williams”