Considering we live in New Zealand we don’t really have a whole lot on the blog about it. So I decided to put on a list of 100 Maori words every New Zealander should know (according to Wintec) and since I don’t know all of them, and I’m guessing Hafsa doesn’t either, there would be no better way to learn them than to put them on our blog! You don’t have to go through them all, but if you do, I guess you’ll learn something useful for the next time you visit New Zealand. And if you are interested in the Haka, scroll down to the end of the post.
The Maori words are in bold followed by the meanings in English.
Hui a meeting of any kind, conference, gathering
Marae the area for formal discourse in front of a meeting house, or applied to a whole marae complex, including meeting house, dining hall, forecourt etc.
Haere mai! Welcome! Enter!
Nau mai! Welcome!
Tangihanga funeral ceremonies, when body is mourned on a marae.
Tangi short (verbal version) for the above (gerund), or to cry, to mourn
Karanga the ceremony of calling to the guests to welcome them to enter the marae
Manuhiri guests, visitors
Tangata whenua original people belonging to a place, local people, hosts
Whaikörero the art and practise of speech-making
Kaikörero or kaiwhai körero speaker (there are many other terms)
Haka chant with dance for the purpose of challenge.
Waiata song or chant which follows speech
Koha gift, present (usually money, can be food or precious items, given by guest to hosts)
Whare nui meeting house; in writing this is sometimes run together as one word – wharenui
Whare whakairo carved meeting house
Whare kai dining hall
Aroha compassion, tenderness, sustaining love
Ihi power, authority, essential force
Mana authority, power; secondary meaning: reputation, influence
Manaakitanga respect for hosts, or kindness to guests, to entertain, to look after
Mauri hidden essential life force or a symbol of this
Noa safe from tapu, non-sacred, not tabooed
Raupatu confiscate, take by force
Rohe boundary, a territory (either geographical or spiritual) of an iwi or hapü
Taihoa to delay, to wait, to hold off to allow maturation of plans etc.
Tapu sacred, not to be touched, to be avoided because sacred, taboo
Tiaki to care for, look after, guard (kaitiaki – guardian, trustee)
Taonga treasured possessions or cultural items, anything precious
Tino rangatiratanga the highest possible independent chiefly authority, paramount authority, sometimes used for sovereignty
Türangawaewae a place to stand, a place to belong to, a seat or location of identity
Wehi to be held in awe
Whakapapa genealogy, to recite genealogy, to establish kin connections
Whenua land, homeland, country; (also afterbirth, placenta
People and their groups
Ariki person of high inherited rank from senior lines of descent, male or female
Hapü clan, tribe, independent section of a people; modern usage – sub-tribe; (also to be born)
Iwi people, nation; modern usage – tribe; (also bones)
Kaumätua elder or elders, senior people in a kin group
Ngäi Tätou a way of referring to everyone present – we all
Päkehä this word is not an insult; its derivation is obscure; it is the Mäori word for people living in New Zealand of British/European origin; it would not have included, for example, Dalmatians, Italians, Greeks, Indians, Chinese etc.
Rangatira person of chiefly rank, boss, owner
Tama son, young man, youth
Tamaiti one child
Täne man, husband, men, husbands
Teina/taina junior relative, younger brother of a brother, younger sister of a sister
Tuahine sister of a man
Tuakana senior relative, older brother of a brother, older sister of a sister
Tungäne brother of a sister
Wahine woman, wife (wähine women, wives)
Waka canoe, canoe group (all the iwi and hapü descended from the crew of a founding waka)
Whängai fostered or adopted child, young person
Whänau extended (non-nuclear) family
Whanaunga kin, relatives
Components of place names
Ordinary geographical features such as hills, rivers, cliffs, streams, mountains, and the coast, and adjectives describing them, such as small, big, little, and long are to be found in many place names; here is a list so you can recognise them:
Iti small, little
Kai one of the meanings of kai is food; when it is tacked on to a place name it signifies a place where a particular food source was plentiful e.g. Kaiköura, the place where crayfish (köura) abounded and were eaten
Moana sea, or large inland ‘sea’ e.g. Taupö
Nui large, big
ö or o means ‘of’ (so does a, ä). Many names begin with ö, meaning the place of so-and-so e.g. ökahukura, ökiwi, öhau etc.
One sand, earth
Pae ridge, range
Roto lake (also means inside)
Tai coast, tide
Whanga harbour, bay
E noho rä Goodbye (from a person leaving)
E haere rä Goodbye (from a person staying)
Haere mai Welcome!, Come!
Hei konä rä Goodbye (less formal)
Kia ora Hi!, G’day! (general informal greeting)
Mörena (Good) morning!
Nau mai Welcome! Come!
Tënä koe formal greeting to one person
Tënä körua formal greeting to two people
Tënä koutou formal greeting to many people
Tënä tätou katoa formal inclusive greeting to everybody present, including oneself
Kauae, kauwae chin
Mähunga hair [when used for hair must always be used in plural, indicated by ngä (the, plural)], head
Poho chest [also called uma]
Puku belly, stomach
Ringa hand, arm
Turi knee [also known as pona]
Waewae foot, feet, leg, legs
The macron – a little line above some vowels – is used to indicate vowel length; some words which look the same have different meanings according to their vowel length; for example anä means ‘here is’ or ‘behold’: Anä te tangata! Here is the man! But ana, with no macron, means a cave. Some writers of modern Mäori double the vowel instead of using macrons when indicating a long vowel, so the first example would be Anaa te tangata!