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Te Wairua

Wairua The spirit is recognized as an immortal element in everything. It was a chosen few who practised the world of the spirit because so sacred was the nature of all spiritual things that knowledge of god himself was treated with the utmost respect because he who held knowledge held the key to all living things, te reo, the mauri, and wairua for the Maori people.

It was believed that where one finds a shadow from which the source of that shadow came, life can be found.  Another word denoting a reflected image and shadow is "ata", and this is a name for spirit or soul, as at Uvea in the Loyalty Isles and also Taumako.

The Wairua of a person is that which leaves the body at death, never to return. The Wairua also leaves the body for brief periods during life when we have dreams and is an more active force than the Mauri. Maori mythology

Spirits of the dead that do not immediately proceed to the spirit-world would lurk round the village home in the form of ghosts termed kehua

The Mauri of a person differs from his Wairua, for it cannot leave the body during life. It is his life-force, life principle, life vital spark and sometimes so referred to as Mauri ora, or living Mauri.

This word ora itself is used to denote a spirit at Tikopia. The Mauri termed the mouri in some dialects; the mauli (life, soul) of Wallis Island, the Mauri (to live) of Efate, and Mauri (Soul, mind) of the Paumotu Group. Certainly the moui (life) of Niue is connected with this mouri or Mauri.

Maori associates with Wairua in all living and the dead, from birth to the grave as it were and in so connecting  giving thanks to all living things for the creation, protection, guidelines set in place by our ancestors that me may live forever in harmony with all living things celebrated in karakia by marae, hapu and Iwi across the land.


In our culture, a tohunga is an expert practitioner of any skill or art, religious or otherwise. Some Tohunga may include expert priests, healers, navigators, carvers, builders, teachers and advisors. The equivalent term in Hawaiian culture is kahuna.

Tohunga ahurewa: highest class of priest -  Tohunga kiato: lowest class of priest  -  Tohunga matakite: fore tellers of the future - Tohunga whakairo: expert carvers - Tohunga tātai arorangi: experts at reading the stars -  Tohunga tārai waka: expert canoe builders. There are many other tohunga classes corroborated from multiple independent sources and in todays terms are clsses according thier expertise in the arts of waiata, kapa haka, karanga, whaikorero and generally those who hold the knowledge of karakia (prayer), himene wairua,  many who carry sacred role inidicative to thier iwi, hapu and whanau geneology, old manuscripts and oral traditions of learned men and women.
Nga Karakia

Karakia is an important part of everyday life for the Tohunga, high priest and practitioner who still practice the crafts, prayers and duties bestowed upon them on a daily basis with the first prayer at 3.00am to the last one held at 11.00pm everyday. Mauri-kohatu or sacred stones to the gods were and still are preserved and are used to-day as they were centuries ago.

At Taumaha, in South Taranaki, in 1921, the veteran warrior, Tu Patea te Rongo, head of the Pakakohi tribe had two sacred stones “Nga whatu a Turi” which were brought from Hawaiki in the canoe Aotea. These stones had an inner power and were rounded and hollow and kept not far from his house. He used them when fishing. When it was time for the piharau or lamprey. he would take the marui down to the River, to ensure the fishing was a success. These sacred stones were direct links to the god Tangaroa and had never been known to fail in bringing large catches when the stone were used with the proper forms of invocations.

At the mouth of the river, local whanau still treasure sacred fishing talisman stones one called “Te Whatu kura-a-Tangaroa” (“The Sacred Red Stone of Tangaroa”). It is a small carved red stone two inches in length and half an inch wide with a piece of bone attached to it . It was brought to New Zealand about six centuries ago, one statement received say the canoe Tauira. Another stone the Korotangi  stone shrouded in mystery  was believed to have mystical powers but this could not be proven.

Following on from there are the  video links above at The Tohunga (priest) linking to the world of wairuatanga. Nga korero o te ao wairua, whakanuihia to ataahuatanga. Listen to Tohunga from across New Zealand explain the world of wairua and its links to all living things.........


The Matariki constellation was important for navigation and the timing the seasons. The first rising of the Pleiades and of Rigel (Puanga in Māori) occurs just prior to sunrise in late May or early June.

The actual time for the celebration of Matariki varies, some iwi (tribe or clan) celebrate it immediately, others wait until the rising of the next full moon, or the dawn of the next new moon - and others use the rising of Puanga/Rigel in a similar way.[5][6]

In traditional times, Matariki was a season to celebrate and to prepare the ground for the coming year. Offerings of the produce of the land were made to the gods, including Rongo, god of cultivated food. This time of the year was also a good time to instruct young people in the lore of the land and the forest. In addition, certain birds and fish were especially easy to harvest at this time.

The name Matariki is used also for the central star in the cluster, with the surrounding stars named Tupu-a-nuku, Tupu-a-rangi, Waiti, Waita, Waipuna-a-rangi and Ururangi.[7]

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There were practitioners and specialists of the spirit world whose sole role was to form a direct link to God, his children and Gods links to all the ehavens in the universe.
Examples of this can be viewed in the following videos one dedicated to the felling of a tree for a waka taua (war canoe). Special emphasis placed on nature, purpose, serenity and faith in all living things especially to Io Matua, Whaea Rikoriko, Tane Mahuta and every deity known in the Maori world of old and karakia - The Tohunga (priest)

(What it means to Maori and how it affects every living thing)