One of the greatest gifts between cultures is that of new words. Our awareness of concepts is tightly bound with having words to describe them. (For example, the concept of mathematics is alien to some remote tribes, who are limited in vocabulary to one, two and many.) In no culture have I found so many words for wise and useful concepts as Maori.

Here are a few I have gathered in the past week:

  • Awhi — supporting the growth of someone else, by nurturing them. Importantly, the word carries no implication of hierarchy
  • Ako — to teach and to learn at the same time – students are also teachers
  • Tui tui tuituia = weaving the threads together
  • Manaakitanga = upholding the self-respect / authority of others (mana) while growing their capacity. Aki is the task of urging someone to act. The word conveys an invitational approach to learning, and of respect, generosity and care for others.

Each of these words adds a unique sidelight on the way we perceive our roles as coaches and mentors. Thanks to everyone, who introduced me to them!


© David Clutterbuck, 2017


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