Kia Kaha

Kia Kaha is a phrase that originated with the Maori people of New Zealand.  It is an affirmation that roughly translates to “stay strong” or “forever strong”.  I came across the phrase a few years ago during my first round of Les Mills Combat, a mixed martial arts inspired workout program.  It is currently being used as the name of an anti-bullying campaign initiated by the New Zealand police, and I cannot think of a better name for a program that helps to empower youth.

The phrase had an immediate impact on me, and I adopted it as my mantra.  I use it to remind myself to be strong both in body and in mind.  I say it as I push through a tough workout.  I repeat it in my head when I need mental strength to carry on during a difficult time.  I share it as a message to friends and strangers alike to offer encouragement in challenging times.

I believe in the power of using a mantra, or a motto.  I believe in this one enough to have made it a permanent part of me.  Yesterday I gifted myself with an early birthday present in the form of a new tattoo incorporating my mantra, Kia Kaha.  Now I have a constant reminder to never give up the fight, no matter what the fight may be.  Here is the tattoo that is on my right shoulder (still a bit inflamed and tender):

Do you have a personal mantra or motto?  What phrase helps you to get through a tough workout, or a tough day?  What do you use to motivate yourself?  As always I welcome your feedback and comments.  Have a great week, friends, and Kia Kaha!

41 thoughts on “Kia Kaha

  1. This is a great tattoo. How cool to share about the Maori phrase “Kia Kaha”. Have a love for the Maori culture.
    My wife and all my children are both have Canadian and New Zealand citizenship, and my oldest daughter is going to New Zealand for teacher’s college starting next February. Part of it she will be learning Maori. 🙂

    As far personal mantras and mottos go, even though I try to keep it very low key on my blog, it would be my Christian faith. My favourite verse, particularly on a long gruelling run I would recite in my heart, Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”

    Sincerely hope it is okay to share this.

    As always, a great post Karen,

    Thank you for sharing! 🙂


    Liked by 3 people

    • How cool is it that you have the New Zealand connection?! I would love to plan a trip there someday to learn more about the culture. What a fantastic opportunity for your daughter!

      It is absolutely okay for you to share any of your thoughts here, my friend. There is a scene in my all-time favorite movie, Remember the Titans, that references Isaiah 40:31 (I did not realize what verse it was until you mentioned it here). It is very fitting for motivating and uplifting! Best, Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Karen, really means a lot. So cool that this verse is a part of that movie. I am the only one without the dual citizenship. When I got married down under, I went with a visitors visa, which was extended to a year. Unfortunately there was not the work at the time, so we returned to Canada. My daughter is super excited, with the exchange rate, and her New Zealand citizenship (does not have to pay international student fees), her teacher’s college is cheaper in New Zealand. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Karen! As I read the first lines of this post, and about Kia Kaha and what it means, I swear that it ran through my mind that it would make a great tattoo…and then, I saw yours! I’ve always thought about getting a tattoo but have a fear of needles!
    I admire this mantra and I think your tattoo looks great and is a wonderful reminder of the strength we all need to possess in life! What a wonderful post…
    Personally, I love the “Rosy the Riveter” motto of “We Can Do It” and her image that was used in WWII. It is a kind of mantra for me:-)
    I hope you had a great weekend and thank you for sharing with us the initiative of the NZ police and what the words “Kia Kaha” mean!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rosy is an awesome strong image for sure, and “We Can Do It” definitely qualifies as a great mantra!

      I am good with needles, but I can’t lie…it did sting a little (A LOT). As the needle was buzzing away I just took deep breaths and said, “Kia Kaha! Kia Kaha!” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kia Kaha to you too! And thank you for such a nice strong start to the week. I suppose, if I had a mantra, at least a ‘strength mantra, it would be along the lines of ‘whatever doesn’t kill makes you strong’. (Borrowed from some strong genius somewhere along the line)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, exciting! You’re braver than I would be to get a tattoo (I think I’m past the tattoo age), but it looks cool. Its an interesting question to ask ourselves… what word or saying means so much, it becomes your motto for life? Interesting food for thought.


  5. Ouch! The tattoo is lovely but ouch. I don’t have a mantra. Scriptures come to mind or the words of a an encouraging song. One thing that drives me crazy is having an unintended mantra in my head, like a kid’s song that I used to help someone remember the months of the year. Talk about ouch!


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