Neck deep

Seeing as I’m neck deep in mahi this month, I figure it’s a good time to return to our tinana themed kīwaha and coincidentally we’ve made it to our necks.

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Kakī mārō is common phrase for pig-headed, stubborn and intransigent. Have you noticed how many kīwaha we have for this in Māori?

Ko tērā kakī mārō tērā!
Oh, that stiff-necked bastard!

Mārō ngā uaua o te kakī seems similar to the previous but actually has a very different meaning. It’s descriptive of someone so busy craning their neck in envy that the muscles have stiffened that way; a similar idiom in English would be keeping up with the Joneses.

E te mero rā! Mārō ngā uaua o tōna kakī ki a tātou.
Oh that pain-in-the-arse! She’s always trying to compete with us.

Kakī whero is a simple translation of the American term redneck. In NZ we use it to mean racist or bigoted but it was originally a derogatory term used by the snobby, urban elite against the unsophisticated rural whites (whose necks were sunburnt from farm work). There’s a move by some people proud of their working class roots to reclaim the word ‘redneck’, in the same way that ‘nigger’ was reclaimed by African Americans, which removes a lot of the power of the insult. Personally, I don’t want to use a term of class superiority regardless of how much of a wanker someone is being; I’ll have to be satisfied with ‘pokokōhua’ and ‘porokūare’ I guess.

Kaua e aro atu ki te kakī whero rā
Don’t pay any attention to that redneck

Rāoa te kakī can be used literally to mean that someone is choking (on a bit of food) but I’ve heard it used metaphorically to mean choleric, i.e. to choke in fury.

I te kitenga o te waka e Pāpā, rāoa tana kakī!
When Dad saw the car, he was livid!

Nonoti i te kakī (nōtia in passive) was a phrase I heard a little while ago meaning to be throttled.

Me hoki au ki te kāinga kei nōtia taku kakī e taku wahine.
I should get back home before my wife wrings my neck.

Tāwiri te kakī o te ngangara is a phrase for all you guys out there. Do I really need to explain?

Taihoa e haere, me tāwiri te kakī o te ngangara ka tahi
Wait one minute, I need to take a piss first

Hara a Kakī is the ‘sin of the neck’. It’s a phrase used to mihi to great food; the sin referred to here is gluttony.

He kai kei te hara a Kakī.
Food so delicious it makes gluttons of us all.

Kakī ururua refers to a revelling, luxuriating throat. It’s used to describe the not-so-guilty pleasure of gluttony.

I horahia te keke a Rewera ināpō… ko te kakī ururua tāku mahi.
They served Devil’s food cake… I overindulged but enjoyed every second of it.

Tō kaha kei te kakī is an insult against gluttony, literally “your strength is in your neck”.

Kia noho koe hei manuhiri kaua e hao kai.
Āta kai kei pōhēhē rātou ko tō kaha kei te kakī.

If you stay as a guest don’t guzzle your food.
Eat moderately so they don’t think you’re a greedy pig.

He whata kei te kakī is a phrase similar to that of “a bottomless pit” in English. Whata were the large platforms used to display food before esteemed guests; someone who eats tirelessly must surely have ‘shelves in their neck’ to hold so much food.

E tē, me he whata kei tō kakī!
Son, you eat as if you’re storing food for winter!

Hōhonu kakī is part of a longer whakataukī referring to someone who is all talk and no action. It’s particularly great when confronted with people who are quick to point out flaws but aren’t willing to do anything themselves (like learn te reo Māori for example).

Hōhonu kakī, pāpaku uaua
Deep throat, shallow muscles

Ara te ua means to hold your head up or stiffen your backbone with pride or confidence; ara means to raise up and the ua is the back part of the neck.

Kia ara te ua, kei konei mātou hei tuarā mōu.
Hold your head up high, we’re here to support you.

Wiri te kauae, shaking jaw,  is a phrase to describe teeth chattering either from cold or fear.

I wiri aku kauae i taua akomanga.
I was freezing in that classroom.

Korokoro tūī is a metaphor for eloquence and wit particularly in formal oratory.

Me he korokoro tūī
It’s as if you have the throat of a tūī

Inukorokoro, according to the William’s dictionary, is a name for someone who is lazy and prefers eating to working. Doesn’t that apply to all of us?

Kātahi te inukorokoro ko koe!
What a lazy pig you are!


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