The definition of Utu is to repay, pay, respond, avenge, reply, answer. Responses formed by the Maori in the early periods of time, we based around well-established customs, traditions and practices. Mana, Tapu and Utu were all key values that were very important in the Maori society.
Utu is generally thought of as revenge,however it does have a wider meaning which is the maintenance of balance or peace. In early New Zealand, Utu was present in the form of gift exchange and this helped maintain bonds and restore relationships or broken bonds. One form of Utu was Muru. This is taking or giving personal property as a form of reparation or compensation for a wrongdoing against a community, society or individual. Once Muru was completed, the wrongdoing or offense was brought to an end or forgiven and forgotten.