Whakataukī (proverbs) play a large role within Maori culture. They are used as a reference point in speeches and also as guidelines spoken to others day by day. It is a poetic form of the Maori language often merging historical events, or holistic perspectives with underlying messages which are extremely influential in Maori society.
Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane
The totara has fallen in the forest of Tane
A totara is a huge tree that grows for hundreds of years. For one of them to fall is a great tragedy. This proverb is said when someone of importance passes away. The Totara is a native tree of New Zealand.