A Kaumatua is an elder, either male or female.
What makes a person a kaumatua?
This definition is based on traditional Maori concepts.
Firstly there is mana. If someone tells you they are a kaumatua, they are not, as this goes against the rules of mana. A true kaumatua will not have to tell anyone they are, as the people will tell you. Also, by going around saying that they are a kaumatua, they are showing a lack of humbleness and are being whakahihi (vain, conceited.)
The Kumara does not talk about its´ own sweetness
Honesty and integrity, shown through their spoken word and actions.
Knowledge of Tikanga, history and Te Reo are another part of being a kaumatua, as well as the desire to share, teach and guide the up and coming generations, to ensure that the mana of the whanau, hapu and iwi are maintained. By doing this of course, the mana is increased even more.
Wisdom to balance the sharing, teaching and guiding of people.
The people decide who they consider their kaumatua. If someone has not had much to do with their whanau over the years, they will not be considered a kaumatua by the people as the people will not know if they have the right traits, knowledge and skills to fulfill this role.