The Concept of Manaakitanga



Love towards us, love going out from us

Different possible translations of the concept of manaakitanga:

making someone feel at home

being a responsible host

showing kindness


caring for the environment

treating people with respect

nurturing relationships

caring for others

reciprocity of kindness, respect and humanity

Of all the principles of Maoritanga the one of Manaakitanga is the one I felt instantly related to when I learned about its meaning. The idea of caring about others, uplift them, support them, make them feel at home and loved is one of my dearest values.

As far as I can think back we always had a lot of friends in and around my familys home. We sat together at the table filled with good food, for hours and hours, talking, laughing, just being together. Sometimes our guests arrived earlier and helped with the preparation, so we were all gathered in the kitchen and everyone did a little bit of work, provided something and had fun.

And it was the same for me when I moved in with my partner. I felt the need to make that place feel like home, like our little nest. We often had friends around for no ohter purpose than sitting together and enjoy company. And again the kitchen was the place that was used the most and it is still that I often feel most comfortable in the kitchen when I visit an unknown house.

But apart from providing nourishment for the body, this principle also means for me to provide food for the soul if it is needed. I for myself need to talk when something is not going quite right in my life, often it helps me to see a bit clearer. I need someone to just sit there and listen, because when I try to explain and lay out the problem to others I often find the real problem that lies underneath the obvious reasons.

And I like to be this person to others aswell. And it happens a lot that people come to me and ask for help or support. In most cases it is enough just to sit and listen to them, because I found that this is something rare, people who actually listen, without already thinking about their answer. My dad once told me a good conversation should be like a ballgame, one person throws the ball, the other one catches, it doesn’t work if both throw their balls at the same time, without caring to catch. And in my eyes this has to do with respect others, take them serious and show them that you care by your actions rather than with words.

But to have the energy to do so, you first have to care about yourself. Listen to yourself, love yourself, forgive yourself. We are normally never as harsh with anyone else as we are with ourselves. In showing more respect and love for us, others will see the lovable and worthy person that we are even clearer. And if we all make this tiny bit of effort we can make everyone feel more secure, safe and respected, with “Love towards us, love going out from us”.