Neil Grove and Hirini Moko Mead

Ngā Pēpeha a ngā Tipuna: The Sayings of the Ancestors HB

ISBN: 9780864733993

Winner of the Reference and Anthology category of the 2002 Montana NZ Book Awards

Kia mau ki te kupu ā tōu matua.
‘Hold fast to the words of your father.’

Ngā Pēpeha a ngā Tipuna is a collection of more than 2500 ‘sayings of the ancestors’. Neil Grove and Hirini M Mead spent more than twenty years collecting and compiling these pēpeha from all over New Zealand —inviting comment and contributions from all who read and used their early volumes.

Pēpeha are not just proverbs; the term includes charms, witticisms, figures of speech and boasts. Neither are they historical relics; they feature in the formal speeches heard every day on the marae, and in the oral literature handed down from past generations.

The pēpeha also provide a rich source of language. Their use of metaphor and their economy of words show language that enriches the textbook Māori of today. Sir Apirana Ngata wrote, ‘In former times a wealth of meaning was clothed within a word or two as delectable as a proverb in its poetical form and in its musical sound.’

In a sense it is a rare privilege to be able to reach out to the ancestors and touch their minds, but this book also allows the ancestors to reach down, as it were, to the people of New Zealand.

Praise for Ngā Pēpeha a Ngā Tipuna

. . . the book is more than just a database; it is a journey into the mind of the culture and we are indebted to the authors and publishers for it.


It is rich reading for the variety and poetry of sayings, the cultural philosophy and tribal history they encapsulate, and the relevance of past words to the present . . . for insight into culture and language,
Ngā Pēpeha a ngā Tipuna invites general readers and is of immense value to students of Māori studies.

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