He kupu whai whakaaro nui mō Mei

Ka pu te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi
The old net is placed aside, the new net goes out fishing

This common metaphor, which at first glance may appear straight forward in its meaning and interpretation, has in fact a more profound meaning beyond what is intended at the surface level and may have nothing to do with fishing, but everything to do with the human life-cycle. In lay terms, it can refer to elderly citizens who may be at a point in their lives where the time has come to pass on the reigns of leadership to the younger generation as they (the new nets) pick up the work, challenges etc of the old net (respectfully).

Metaphors such as these can be useful tools for facilitating the learning and teaching of te reo Maori and aid one’s understanding of Maori words, sentences and meaning because they provide contextual and background information about the Maori world perspective and culture concerning everyday, real-life activity as conveyed by the metaphor.

This area known as discourse analysis looks at language meaning derived from context as opposed to grammar analysis that accounts only for the structure of a language at the sentence level. So, they are two different, but closely interwoven and interactive sides of the same coin that are vital in the teaching and learning of te reo Maori.

image provided under licensed condition at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0/deed.en

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