Pursue the Precious: A Maori Blessing

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Last Updated on December 17, 2019 by Audrey Scott

Sometimes in life, we find ourselves fortunate enough to be surrounded by so much beauty that we can feel a bit like we are drowning. In these moments, we need a dose of wisdom, an aid in context that allows us to grasp it all at once, to properly honor it, to put it into perspective.

Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koutou me he maunga teitei.

— Maori blessing

Pursue that which is most precious. If you should bow down, let it only be to a lofty mountain

Emerald Lakes - Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand
Maori blessing, New Zealand.

And so it has been with our experience in New Zealand. Breathtaking moments, sweeping landscapes, pure adventure — the word abundance doesn’t quite do it all justice.

Then we heard the words above.

Shilo, a young leader in the Maori community, offered them during a traditional Maori welcome at a Marae (a Maori meeting house) just outside the town of Rotorua. He was a relatively young man dressed informally, but he exuded wisdom beyond his years. His words — in both Maori and English — were beautiful, softly powerful and devoid of cliche.

Shilo's words poetically cut to the quick — of why we do what we do, why we are in New Zealand, and how life has conspired to bring us to this place, among these people, at this moment.

I live. In particular, I live for these moments, where just a few words are cast before us in a way that captures the fullness of life in a fleeting moment.

“Pursue that which is most precious. If you should bow down, let it only be to a lofty mountain.”

Disclosure: Our New Zealand Encompassed Tour is provided by G Adventures in cooperation with its Wanderers in Residence program. Our flights are kindly sponsored by Air New Zealand. As always, the opinions expressed here are entirely our own.
About Daniel Noll
Travel and life evangelist. Writer, speaker, storyteller and consultant. Connecting people to experiences that will change their lives. Originally from the U.S. Daniel has lived abroad since 2001 and most recently has been on the road since 2006. When he's not writing for the blog you can keep up with his adventures on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And you can learn more about him on the About Page and on LinkedIn.

15 thoughts on “Pursue the Precious: A Maori Blessing”

  1. I can so relate to your comment about drowning in beauty as I’ve been to places that have touched me in the same way. I haven’t yet been to NZ, but it is high on my list of places to visit…all the more so from following your travels there. I love this quote. It touches my heart in a way I can’t put into words.

  2. Love that quote:
    “Pursue that which is most precious. If you should bow down, let it only be to a lofty mountain.”

    Also love the New Zealand pic. That place seizes to amaze me.

  3. Amazing photo! Ever since I found out that lord of the rings was filmed in New Zealand, I have always wanted to go for the amazing landscapes.

  4. What a powerful wisdom! I find it interesting especially after a traveler whom I met in China thought that I was a Maori. 🙂
    Pursue that which is most precious. Yes, keep on traveling, seeing the world, and spreading the stories!

  5. @Jessica: The Emerald Lakes at Tongariro were truly spectacular. Not a photoshop chop job. Pretty much just nature. Seemed to match the words.

    @Susan: NZ, definitely worth a visit and a worthy ‘bucket list’ candidate. I’m glad this quote touched you like it did me. Very special quote, not only in the words but also how it was delivered.

    @NE: Like we said, it’s the real deal.

    @Jeremy: Lord of the Rings landscapes in New Zealand…that’s only the beginning.

    @Bama: That’s the idea: travel, see and share the stories! Thanks.

  6. “Pursue that which is most precious. If you should bow down, let it only be to a lofty mountain.”

    I am very much thankful that you shared this here. Sometimes, I think it really takes a great place and an out-of-the-box experience to discover the simplest things which we always refuse to see when we’re drowned in our typical environments. 🙂

  7. @Angel: One of the great benefits of travel is to get you outside your regular routine and comfort zone to gain perspective and learn from others. That’s how this experience in New Zealand was for us. Glad you enjoyed this quote as much as we did.

  8. wow, surprisingly there is another exotic lake with turquoise color. in Indonesia, we have “Danau Tiga Warna” or 3 Color Lake in English.

  9. @Robee: I suspect the Emerald Lakes of Tongariro are that color because of some natural chemical compound. Are yours the same?


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