Hutia te rito o te harakeke,
Kei whoa te kōmako e kō?
Kī mai ki ahau;
He aha te mea nui o te Ao?
Māku e kī atu,
he tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata
If the heart of harakeke was removed, where will the bellbird sing?
If I was asked, what was the most important thing in the world;
I would be compelled to reply, It is people, it is people, it is people!
Te Harakeke Whanau (family)
The proverb reflects the Maori reference to the harakeke plant as a whanau or family group.
The outer leaves are the tupuna (ancestors); the inner leaves are the mātua (parents); the most inner leaf is the rito or pepe (baby). Only the tupuna are cut as the mātua are left to protect the pepe”.
Accordingly the proverb reflects that without the sound of children in the world (the next generation) mankind will not survive.
The diagram to the right illustrates how the harakeke represents a whanau or family