Commonly Used Māori Words

COMMONLY USED MĀORI WORDS

This is a simplified guide to Māori words that are commonly used. For further information see maoridictionary.co.nz or nzhistory.net.nz/culture/maori-language-week/100-maori-words

Kupu/WordWhakamāramatanga/Meaning
AotearoaNew Zealand
awariver
hāngīearth oven to cook food with steam and heat from heated stones
hapūsubtribe
hongito press noses in greeting
huigathering, meeting, assembly, seminar, conference
itismall
iwitribe
ka paigood
kaifood
kaikarangacaller – the woman (or women) who has the role of making the ceremonial call to visitors onto a marae, or equivalent venue, at the start of a pōwhiri
kaikōrerospeaker
kaitiakiguardian, steward
karakiaprayer, blessing
karangato call, call out, shout, summon
kaumātuaelder – a person of status
kaupapatopic, matter for discussion
kawaprotocol – customs
kia orahello, thank you
kohagift, present, offering, donation, contribution – especially one maintaining social relationships, has connotations of reciprocity
kōrerospeech, narrative, conversation, discourse
koruspiral motif
mahiwork, practice
manaprestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma
mana whenuaauthority over land or territory
manaakitangathe process of showing respect, generosity and care for others
manuhirivisitor, guest
maraethe open area in front of the wharenui, where formal greetings and discussions take place. Often also used to include the complex of buildings around the marae
maungamountain
mihispeech of greeting
moanaocean
mokoMāori tattooing on the face or body carried out under traditional protocols
mōrenagood morning
nau mai, haere maiWelcome, come in
ngāthe – plural
noabe free from the extensions of tapu, ordinary, unrestricted, void
nuibig
pākehāNew Zealander of European descent
pātakastorehouse raised upon posts, pantry, larder
pitopito koreroPecha Kucha
poroakifarewell
pounamunephrite jade, commonly called greenstone
pōwhiriwelcome ceremony
rangatiraleader
roheregion
tamarikichildren
tāneman
tangataperson, human being
tāngatapeople, human beings
tangata whenualocal people, hosts, indigenous people
taongatreasure, anything prized – applied to anything considered to be of value including socially or culturally valuable objects, resources, phenomenon, ideas and techniques
tapusacred, prohibited, restricted, set apart, forbidden, under atua protection
tethe – singular
tēnā koehello! (speaking to one person)
tēnā koutouhello! (speaking to three or more people)
tikangacorrect procedure, custom, habit, lore, method, manner, rule, way, code, meaning, plan, practice, convention, protocol – the customary system of values and practices that have developed over time and are deeply embedded in the social context
tino rangatiratangaself-determination, sovereignty, autonomy, self-government
toiart
tūpuna, tīpunaancestors, grandparents
tukutukuornamental lattice-work – used particularly between carvings around the walls of meeting houses
wahinewoman
waiatasong
wakacanoe, boat
whaikōreroformal speeches usually made by men during a pōwhiri and other gatherings
whakairocarving
whakapapagenealogy, lineage, descent
whānauextended family
wharehouse, building
wharenuimeeting house, large house – main building of a marae where guests are accommodated
whare taongamuseum
wharekaidining hall
wharepakutoilet
whenualand