Married couples are like Tui birds in Maori culture

What you need to know:

  • Life should be enjoyable, but we need to keep our self-esteem levels high. There should be a splendour element in relationships.

Tui is a national heritage animal in Maori culture. Together with the other heritage animals and plants, such as Koru, the bird has a special symbolic meaning; it is often associated with life fulfilment, confidence, and spiritual harmony.

In his book Bird-Song and New Zealand Song Birds, Johannes Andersen noted around 70 distinctive calls of the Tui. 'He sings at all times, by day and by night, at rest and on the wing...', and also commented that '…the notes of this most versatile bird are different in different parts of the islands, and even in the same locality, they vary from season to season, new notes being sounded in addition to old ones repeated...'

Tui birds symbolise spiritual harmony: Go to the same worship place and worship God together as a family. Tui birds symbolise life fulfilment. Generally, in the first 40 years, says American comedian Mark Lowry, human beings pursue success, and in the remaining years, they pursue significance. Legacy is what other people will remember about you when you're gone.

For me, writing books is one of the most important projects in my life. When I was 39 years old, I had a great passion for writing relationship books. I said in my heart, "if I write a relationship book with impact, then I'll die a happy person."

That push was so high. Today, as I work with my personal assistant, Jessica Kimaro, to complete the 10th book, there's a level of fulfilment in my life that's just enormous. This is significance!

Tui birds are messengers: This is because they mimic. Maori people are amazing storytellers; they didn't know how to read or write; their heritage was passed down through stories. What message is your life sending to theirs? Is it love, diligence, harmony, peace, destitution, or quarrels? Leave a rich legacy.

Tui birds are beautiful: Yes, life should be enjoyable, but we need to keep our self-esteem levels high. I like peacocks; they're proud birds, they display their beauty, and they enjoy life. There should be a splendour element in relationships.

Tui birds mimic; you might have heard an old saying that suggests, "If you go to Fairyland, you've got to do as the fairies do." This is a good life principle; to some extent, we've got to live in harmony with others.

As a couple, you don't have to be out of the equation. Do you? At times, I want my wife's beauty displayed publicly. I usually buy cute dresses that make me proud of her—men like this!

Finally, in this era of postmodernism and matrimony electronica, our spouses are like personal Googles of everything related to relationship technology, politics, history, sports, the economy, etc. Let's keep the harmony and stay madly in love. We'll enjoy the ride!

Amani Kyala is a counsellor, writer, and teacher, 0626 512 144.