Almost all of the kīwaha I’ve found that mention ears relate to attentiveness or lack thereof. In fact there’s so many, I’m now wondering if there’s something about Māori kids that requires so many names for obstinance.
Taringa mārō / mutu / maitai / pākura / kōhatu / peita / puta iti are all kīwaha for stubbornness and selective deafness.
He mea kohatu ō taringa?
Are your ears just for decoration?
Taringa kōroiroi / morimori refer to being inattentive, although perhaps just through distraction rather than intentional disobedience.
Tēnā, e te taringa kōroiroi, kei mahurangi koe!
Hey you, deaf ears, you’re away with the fairies!
Taringa whatirua is refers to someone distracted; they’re trying to listen to two things at once and end up hearing neither.
Tēnā koe e te taringa whatirua, he aha tāku i kī ai?
Hello there Miss Not-paying-attention, what did I just say?
Taringa muhukai refers to a very particular kind of deafness – their ears only prick up when called for dinner.
E tama! Me te kurī koe, he taringa muhukai.
Son! You’re the same as the dog, you only listen when it’s time for dinner.
Taringa mātotoru is yet another kīwaha for being heedless; it’s often used in contrast to taringa rahirahi which refers to being an attentive, ‘active listener’.
Kia rahirahi ō taringa, kaua e mātotoru
Pay attention, don’t be remiss
Areare ngā taringa is a common phrase referring to attentiveness.
Tamariki mā, areare mai ō koutou taringa
Children, please listen and pay attention
Taringa harore or “fungus ears” is a term similar to cauliflower ears in English. Alternately it can be used like taringa maitai and others above.
Nā te tākaro whutupōro he taringa harore ōna.
He’s got cauliflower ears from playing rugby.
Taringa popoki / hōhō describes someone with sticky-out ears.
Ka aroha atu ki te pēpi nei me ōna taringa popoki.
The poor wee baby and her sticky-out ears.
Taringa huruhuru is a euphemism for kaumātua, although I know a few who wouldn’t be pleased with this epithet.
Nei rā te mihi ki a koutou, e ngā taringa huruhuru o te marae.
I would like to acknowledge you all, the elders of the marae.
Patu taringa has featured on this blog once before. It’s a phrase refering to telling lies or tall tales
Kaua e patu taringa!
Don’t tell fibs!
Pārikoriko ana ngā taringa is a phrase referring to something that you’ve heard but really wish you hadn’t.
Pārikoriko ana ngā taringa i tēna
That’s disgusting, I don’t want to hear that!