A Mauri Assault: A Kuia’s Lesson in Dealing With Haters

Recently I read some belittling and demeaning comments with regards to where I had questioned another authors integrity. It caused a nerve with quite a few (non-Māori), who were then spurred on to write blogs, react and comment in a mostly relevant (although coming from a place of ignorance) debate. However, in an open online forum, an ‘Anonmyous’ commenter responded, failing to argue against my objections, but instead (they must of googled me) went to attack me personally.

It shot fire through me, my Nāti DNA kicked in, propelling me to leap in for a fight. Hell has no fury like a Nāti scorned! Traditionally, in Māori society, such insults would not have been taken lightly. Tapu (sacredness), mana (authority) and mākutu (powers) were used to regulate and limit bad behavior, but the digital world is under no such lore, unregulated it is a platform for the angry, the lonely, and the unseen trying desperately to be seen. Our times have changed, having a philosophy of utu (revenge) is not pragmatic, online insults are a dime a dozen and to react to every slight caused, will have you lost in a world of negativity.

It started me thinking about what is a tikanga Māori perspective for dealing with haters?

I began to research a couple of things and started with mauri, a fundamental concept underpinning much of Māori philosophy.

Mauri

“the essence that gives a thing its specific natural character”

 “the life principle”

“the essential quality of a being and a physical essence in which this has been located”

 

And then for some reason, I looked up, mākutu – which in short, is a curse and I don’t want to associate this persons actions too much with mākutu, as that is a whole ‘nuther’ level, but it was this notion that struck me…

Mākutu

“a process where a person attacks or assaults the life force or inner-being of the person

 

Koina.  Thats it. And this is what the haters do, they try to bring down the essence of a person, attempting to assault a person’s inner mauri, it’s a Mauri Assault! These assaults are spearheaded by using shame to bring down the essential qualities of a person.

I started to think of our grandmother, and what would she do, what were her tools?  Born of another time, she had a very active and public profile and knew how to ‘move the people’. She was one of the staunchest and most commanding woman I’ve known. She had told us mākutu stories and she had also told of being careful when going into unknown areas, because of “jealousy” she said, “jealousy will make people try to get at you”. For some reason, I can still remember her clearly, with me, sitting on the edge of her bed listening to that. Strange, how it would become the foundation for my understanding of how to interact in the big wide digital realm. I have three learnings from my reflection of her on that day.

Ritual – Karakia

Our grandmother was religious in her karakia (prayer), especially her morning one, where facing to the early rising sun, she would ‘do’ herself. She also had special karakia she would do with the whole whanau (family) down at the beach. This enforces to me the importance of focused and specialized rituals.

Connection – Whanaungatanga

Our grandmother was in constant connection with the whenua (land) and whanau (family). It’s unusual for a Māori to ‘go’ by themselves. Even if your whanau are not physically with you, connection helps you to carry them with you. Its pretty hard to attack someones mauri, when they are shielded by the mana and mauri of their whanau.

Symbolism – Taonga

On her bed that day, when our grandmother spoke about ‘being out of home ground’ and jealousy, she told me she always carried her special taonga with her to protect, like a type of armor over her. Symbols can remind us of things that make us to feel safe, connected and protected.

Most of us know these tools, but it is not until you need them you actually realize how brilliant they are, and the more practiced you are at them, the quicker they kick in.

A lot of people told me to brush it off, and get over it, and toughen up, and to a certain degree this is necessary, but every now and again some of it gets in. I’m probably a bit softer than most and I put myself out there a lot more than most others do. I made a conscious decision about a year ago, that I would be expressing my radical ideas and deepest most inner thoughts into the public space, and I knew the implications that that would have for dealing with haters and a strength I would need to develop to combat them.  But I’ve chosen this path because I believe I have important things to say, and I believe I can give words and a voice to things that resonate and give meaning for our people.

When I read mean and hateful comments, sometimes I do feel it, and it does make me angry, and it can also make me sad, but that is what makes me human. Anger and sadness tells me, I don’t like this situation and I need to change it or remove myself from it. I think an even worse case scenario would be to not have any feeling at all, to be completely devoid of those emotions, I think that, is a far more tragic and dire situation.

30 thoughts on “A Mauri Assault: A Kuia’s Lesson in Dealing With Haters

  1. Reblogged this on lapetitekiwi and commented:
    This is me to a T. Thanks for putting my feelings into words – I have teouble with this ALL the time here in France, but unfortunately the French as a whole, lack respect for intercultural diversity when it’s not framed within their paradigm.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It feels so Awesome to hear about the old ways,I have been in Sydney,Australia for 21 years now and can never forget the Mana and Arohanui my Whanau raised me with and so much needed it here,with a lot of different cultures and of course,Jealousy and people wanting to own someone they can’t have,My Mana and Arohanui from all my Whanau have made me stronger by using what they taught me and gave me what I know now no-one else can give me,My Spiritual Roots,Mana,Kaha and Arohanui. Te hei Maoriora 💗

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Kia kaka Kiri as long as you have whanau who stands by you and the knowledge you have taken from what your grandmother told you thats her mana you carry Wahine Toa Moari Tu Maori Ora

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ae koia nei nga mahi Whaiwhaia
      o TuaWhakarere tae noa ki Teneki ra tonu I kitea au weneki mate I heke ki raro ki roto I nga reanga e toru wha pia.
      With I my work I do I have seen this sort of thing that has been passed down to 3 to 4 generation’s
      Makutu in the family’s and people that still practice this sort of stuff.

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  2. Tika-True, Right, honourable
    Tikanga to uphold what is Tika

    We are descended from a highly moral society whereby decisions were made not as per individuals, but as communities. And with this a strong sense of others needs come.

    The narcissistic personalities that throw hate around, have come from hate.

    Let all that we do in response come from a place of Aroha and our Mauri and the Mauri of those around us will grow stronger

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 2017
        Nga mihi e te tuahine.
        Greetings ,to you our sister.
        Thank u for sharing, its funny i grew up with the same groundings and thought nothing of it,now im in my mid 50s i have a better understanding & so grateful that i was observant &listened when my kaumatua kui were alive.
        Mauri Ora ki a koe e te tuahine.

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  3. WOW that is so awesome thanks for sharing this. It has further given me understanding and now to pratice those gifts our older n wise people leave us. Mauri Ora😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was finally the recipient of some powerful negative energy as have been other wahine toa I know of who clearly operate in the light. None of us were fore-armed to handle our respective yet very similar experiences. We simultaneously removed ourselves from false accusations impugning our personal, professional, whanau, hapū & community identities, whilst the swirl of accusers hid behind Pakeha-defined structures & processes. Such revelations ultimately disclose individual agendas that compromise the ideals of our tīpuna for the good of all. Sadly such antics by our whanaunga exist in potentially highly influential roles commensurate with their incomes in both tauiwi & Māori organisations. If only they could direct their energy to the highest good! For many a year I’ve been trying to find a way to heal soul-destroying separation in my whanau during my lifetime. Compassion works. Fortunate to be exposed to multiple healing modalities globally, I’m grateful for your post …. I’m keen to know more of how our matters were healed prior to Pakeha settlement & governance, education, justice, economics distracted our people from our own knowing & redirected our focus. I have become conscious it is timely to regain & re-engage the knowledge you mention in your blog & establish a healing / peaceful resolution service in alignment with tīkanga Māori.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a wonderful blog. The ways of our tīpuna have always brought peace and confidence to me and although admittedly I dont live enough of it, it is comforting to know that those things and more, are but a thought away.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. HMMMMM IM IN MY ELEMENT reading all this fine and powerful korero.
    How highly intelligent were our Tupuna to leave behind a legacy of incredible proverbs sayings..wisdoms and more…..and to think that not all is lost…we are their bones..we are their blood…the dna that runs through us is them…..so the solutions are in us laid out before us to awhi us in all situations….and HOW POWERFUL IS THAT!!! AMENE

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  7. Interesting that you have been through this man-made situation. I have had a kaumatua (well thats what he is referred to as by some) throw some barbs about me recently, based on hearsay. That is, he has never asked me to confirm or otherwise, his rhetoric. Mauri attack stuff. My first response has been to re-affirm to myself my place in the world. My next was to heed advice given by an aunt, “ma te wa”. I know my koro is looking after me, but the ”ma te wa'” is a prophetic re-assurance I have found. Kia kaha kotiro.

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  8. Che, tuatahi ka mihi kia koe e te tuakana, mou i whakahokia te koha me kii, ki taa te kai-whakawhiu…

    Mau ano to Mana e whakaora ai! Whakahokia ngaa para ki te kai-whakawhiu.. Ehara nou, na reira, hikina i to Katoa, kia eke paanuku, eke tangaroa..

    He mauri to te kupu, ahakoa he mea whakakata, whakatoi, whakaiti. Ki te puta te kupu kua hora hoki te mauri.. Na he tika katoa ou koorero Tuakana..

    Kia kaha mai koe, me ou whainga..

    Doits!!

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  9. tika tonu tenei korero..an individual living within multi-cultural society becomes open to this kind of attack on ones mauri..as maori we have that unique quality in where that korowai is always being repaired by whanau be it that they are living or passed on..deragaratory remarks are made by people who are inferior and have no self-worth because they do not have the aroha that we as maori know ,live and breath because of that shelter of protection of our whanaungatanga..money cannot buy this kind of bond in ones own identity

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  10. Kia ora mo tena. Your korero took me to thinking about my kotiro and bullying she has experienced at school. I had not thought about the label itself and when reading your korero it dawned on me that bullying is a Mauri attack – Makutu. Interesting we continue to deal with it using karakia and whanaungatanga – she does have a Taonga though doesn’t wear it……..hmmmm food for thought.

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