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E tipu e rea: Messages for early childhood practice

Lesley Rameka

Traditional Māori society was founded on belief systems, principles, ideals, and values defined and handed down by ancestors, rather than through a set of laws as is more common in western societies. Whakataukī (proverbs, sayings) were one way Māori used to set down, reinforce and transmit these beliefs and values. Whakataukī can therefore be viewed as ancient wisdom and knowledge handed down through the generations to guide people’s lives. In this article I argue that traditional Māori whakataukī and more specifically Apirana Ngata’s well-known whakataukī, “E tipu e rea”, hold much for the development of appropriate professional practice in current early childhood contexts, for Māori.

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