Glossary Of Māori Words and Terms

Also available: Link to a Māori Dictionary website.

Index:   [ | | h | | k | m | n | ng | | p | r | t | | w | wh  ]

Word or Term

Meaning

ahi kā

those who have the right to occupy the land

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ahi taitai

sacred fire lit for rituals associated with the departmental gods

aho

weft

Aho Maatua

Guiding document for Kura Kaupapa

aho tapu

in weaving, the thread that sets the rest of the pattern

āhua

feature(s), aspect(s); shape, look, nature of a person

āhua Māori

particular character, aspect that is relative to being Māori

āhuatanga

likeness, characteristics relative to the circumstances

aituā

misfortune resulting in death

aki

to encourage, urge on

ako

to learn

ao

world

ao tawhito

ancient Māori world

Aotearoa

New Zealand

āpure

patch, circumscribed area

aroha

kindness, affection, love, compassion

atawhai

to show kindness to

atua

deities, gods

awa

river, channel, gully

awhi

help / helpful

āwhina

help, assist

āwhinatanga

to help or assist

awhitanga

assistance, help, guidance

e tiki

refer to hei tiki

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hāhi

faith, religion

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haka

vigorous dances with actions and rhythmically shouted words

haka pōwhiri

a ceremonial dance of welcome

hāngi

earth oven; food cooked in earth oven

hapū

sub-tribe(s) that share a common ancestor

harakeke

flax

Haramai a Paoa

name of an ancestral chant: ‘The arrival of Paoa’

hari

dance, sing

hauhaua

crippled

haukāinga

home; true home

hauora

health

Hawaiki

traditional homeland of the Māori

hei matau

a neck ornament fashioned after the design of a fishhook

hei tiki

a tiki that is worn by both female and male and is regarded a heirloom

hinengaro

mind

Hine-te-iwaiwa

Māori goddess who presides over childbirth and the art of weaving

hoa tāne

husband

hoe waka

traditional canoe paddling

Horouta

ancestral canoe

Huarahi Māori

Māori medium

hui

meeting

Huitau Te Hau

a Rongomaiwahine elder

ihu

nose

ika tapu

first man slain in battle

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inanga

a whitish variety of greenstone

iwi

tribal kin group; nation

kahawai

NZ fish

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kahurangi

a light coloured variety of greenstone

kai ure

a traditional ritual of protection or self-preservation

kaiako

teacher, tutor

kaiāwhina

helper, assistant

kaikaranga

person making a ceremonial call of welcome.

kaikōrero

speaker, orator

kaimahi

worker, staff

Kaikōura

a town of the north-eastern South Island of NZ

Kaikōura-Wakatu

part of the north-eastern South Island coastline of NZ

kaimoana

sea food

Kaipara

a harbour in the northern North Island of NZ

kai-rā-mua

an offender of a rāhui

kairangahau

researcher

kaitiaki

guardian, minder; custodian over natural resources

kaitiakitanga

guardianship; cultural and financial guardianship; accountability

kanikani

to dance

kanohi

face, eye(s)

kanohi kitea

to be a seen face

kapa haka

a row/team/group performing haka/waiata/poi

kāpo

blind

kāpotanga

blindness

kapu

the object invested by the tohunga rendering a rāhui effective

karaka

a native tree; fruit of the karaka tree

karakia

prayer(s); chant(s) and incantation(s)

karanga

call

karanga mate

inviting death

Katikati

township in the Bay of Plenty, North Island, NZ

kaui

a cord or string on which articles are strung

kaumatua

elder

kaumātua

elder(s)

kaupapa

topic, basis; guiding principles

kaupapa Māori

Māori based topic/event/enterprise run by Māori for Māori

kauri

a native forest tree of Aotearoa

kāuta

shack, lean to

kawa

professional practice, ethical practices, protocols

kawakawa

a dark variety of greenstone

kete

basket made of flax strips

kete whakairo

decorative basket

kerepō

blind

kiekie

Freycinetia banksit - a climbing plant

kina

sea egg

kiore

rat

Kiwa

famous ancestor of Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki tribe, Noth Island, NZ

kiwi

native bird of and international symbol of New Zealand

kiwikiwi

species of fern

koha

gift, token, pledge

kōhanga reo

pre-school based on Māori language and culture

kōpaki

a present made to the relatives of a deceased person in token of respect

korari

flower stalk of harakeke

kōrero

speak, talk, discuss; discussion

kōrero tawhito

ancient story

koroua

male elder

korowai

traditional cloak

kotahitanga

unison/unity

kōwhaiwhai

painted scroll ornamentation - commonly used on meeting house rafters

kuia

female elder

kuku

mussel

kukura

inflamation of the eyes

kumara

sweet potato

kūpapa

collaborator; be neutral

kupu

word, anything said

kura

school; red; precious

Kura Kaupapa

Māori language immersion schools

kuru

an ornament of greenstone; the tongue on the end of the body of a canoe

maara

plantation

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māhakitanga

humility

mahetau

a variety of potato

mahi

work

mahi rangahau

research

mahinga kai

garden

mahi whakairo

to carve; carving

Māhia Peninsula

East Coast locality, south of Gisborne, North Island, NZ

MAI te Kupenga

The National Programme for Māori and Indigenous Post-graduate Advancement

mana

prestige, status, authority, influence, integrity; honour, respect

mana motuhake

autonomy, independence, authority

mana whenua

authority over land and natural resources, tribal estates

Manaaki Whenua

Landcare Research, New Zealand's foremost environmental research organisation.

manaaki(tia)

show respect or kindness; entertain; care for

manaakitanga

respect; hospitality, kindness; mutual trust, respect and concern

manaia

stylised figure used in carving; sea horse

manuhiri

visitor(s)

Māoritanga

the very essence of being Māori

marae

tribal meeting grounds; village common

Maraenui

settlement on the western side of the Motu River, North Island, NZ

marae ātea

village forecourt, village gathering point

maro

fronds of fern or twigs used in certain rites as rāhui

matā

flint

mataāwaka

original canoes; founding settlers, kinsfolk from original canoe

mātaitai

fish or other foodstuff obtained from the sea or lakes

matakerepō

blind

matakerepo

cloudy vision

matapō

blind

matapōtanga

blindness

mātauranga

knowledge, tradition, epistemology

mātauranga Māori

Māori knowledge

mate

monthly cycle, menstruation, period

mātua

parents

mātua-tīpuna

forebears

Māui

a demigod

maunga

mountain

mauri

life essence, life force, energy, life principle

mauri ora

knowing who we are

mihi

greeting

moana

sea, ocean

mokemoke

lonely, solitary; homesick

moko

refer to tā moko

mokopuna

grandchild

mōteatea

lament

mōteatea

song, chant

Motu River

river in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, North Island, NZ

Mt Maunganui

a mountain east of the Tauranga Harbour, North Island, NZ

muka

prepared fibre of flax

Muriwai

famous ancestress of the Whakatohea people, North Island, NZ

Ngā Kura Aoraki

English speaking mainstream shcools

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Ngāti Kuri

a tribal group from Kaikoura, South Island, NZ

ngā mate

the dead

ngā manukura

leadership

Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga

The National Institute of Research Excellence for Māori Development and Advancement

ngāwaritanga

patience, lenience

noa

not sacrosanct, having no restrictions/prohibitions; free from tapu

Nūhaka

situated south of Gisborne, North Island, NZ

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ōhākī

deathbed wishes

Ohiwa

a harbour in the eastern Bay of Plenty, North Island, NZ

Okarea Pā

a traditional Māori settlement at Te Whaiti, North Island, NZ

Ōmaio

settlement on the eastern side of the Motu River, North Island, NZ

oriori

lullaby

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home

a term used for a row of weaving; fortified Māori village

pā harakeke

a collection or plantation of flax; the material and process of weaving

pakanga

war

pakeke

adult

Pākehā

a person of predominantly European descent

pakiwaitara

legend

pā muka

a collection of rows or pā

papakāinga

village, homestead

Papatūānuku

Papa for short: the name given to the Earth Mother

Paritu

locality north of Māhia, North Island, NZ

Pātere

Chants

patu

club like weapon

patupaiarehe

supernatural children of the mist

pāua

abalone, sea ear, edible univalve molluscs of rocky shores

peruperu

a variety of potato

pīngao

a sand dune plant used for weaving

pipi

cockle

pītau

perforated spiral carving

pito

placenta

piupiu

grass skirt

pohe

blind

pohe ka kanohe

blindness

poro toroa

albatross bone

pōrangi

mad, in a hurry

pou rāhui

rāhui post, symbol of a rāhui; a boundary post erected to warn people against trespassing

pou takawaenga

Extension Service Team of the Ministry of Fisheries

poua

grandfather, great grandfather

pounamu

greenstone, nephrite

poupou

upright slabs forming the solid framework of the walls of a wharenui

pōwhiri

to welcome; welcome ceremony

bunch or clump

pūau

toggle of hei tiki

pu-harakeke

a variety of flax

pūngāwerewere

spider

pūkengatanga

teaching, preserving and creating Māori knowledge; skills, talents

Pukerua Bay

a bay of the south western North Island, near Wellington, NZ

pūmanawa

ability

pūmanawa moe

potential

puna

a spring of water; source, origin

puna mātauranga

source of knowledge

pura

blind

pura o te kanohi

blindness

pūrakau

ancient legend, myth

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rāhui

a custom used by Māori to prohibit the use of a resource; to instate an area out of bounds following a fatality

rāhui

restrictions

rāhui tūāhu

to claim ownership of the area

rāhuitia

banned, out of bounds, forbidden, prohibited, under sanctuary, reserved or preserved

rangatahi

youth

rangatiratanga

self determination, autonomy, the right of Māori te be self-determining

Ranginui

Rangi for short: the name given to the Sky Father

raranga

weave; weaving

raupatu

conquest, confiscation

reo

language

Rerewhakaitu

lake near Rotorua, North Island, NZ

Ringatū

literally, ‘The Upraised hand,’ name of the faith created by Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Tūruki

ringawera

kitchen hand, kitchen worker

rito

centre shoot or heart of the flax

rīwai

a general name for potato

rohe

area, region; boundary

rongoā

natural/herbal remedies; medicine

Rongomaiwahine

name of an East Coast Māori tribe, North Island, NZ

roro

brain

rua

two

rūnanga

council of collective hapū established to manage the affairs of the hapū

Rūnanga o Kirikiriroa

Māori Iwi Authority of Hamilton, North Island, NZ

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tā moko

the art of Māori tattoo

taewa

potato

taha kikokiko

physical aspects

taha tinanga

physical

tahi

one

tai

sea or coast

taiaao

environment

taiaha

close quarters combat weapon

taiāpure

a reserve management system under the Māori Fisheries Act 1989

take

basis

tamariki

children

tamaiti whakatoi

wayward child

Tāne

a son of Ranginui and Papatūānuku

tāne

male(s)

Tānewhirinaki

son of Muriwai

tangata

person(s), people

tangata whenua

indigenous people of the land, first people of the land

tangi

to cry/mourn; mourning rituals

tangihanga

funeral, rites for the dead

tangiwai

a transparent variety of greenstone

tāniko

weaving of threads to create bodice, bands.

taonga

precious; an heirloom to be passed down through the different generations of a family; protected natural resource

taonga pūoro

Māori musical instrument(s)

taonga tuku iho

traditions, knowledge, treasures handed down by ancestors

tāpapa

ground work preparation for a plantation

tapu

sacrosanct, prohibited, protected, restricted

taua

grandmother, great grandmother

tauira

student(s)

taumata

orator's bench

tauparapara

a chant to start speech

Tauranga

city in the Bay of Plenty, North Island, NZ

tauru

personified head of the rāhui pole

tautoko

support

tautokotanga

supporting

taurima

treat with care

tawa

a native tree; fruit of the tawa tree

tāwhara

fruit of kiekie, a climbing plant/vine; source of food and drink

Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki

name of a east coast North Island Māori tribe

Te Āo Hurihuri

Changing world

Te Āo Māori

Māori worldview

Te Āo Marama

world of light and enlightenment

Te Arawa

name of a central North Island Māori tribe

Te Atua

God

te hāhi Ringatū

the Ringatū faith

Te Ika a Māui

the North Island of New Zealand

te iwi kāinga

the home people

Te Karere

current news programme delivered totally in te reo Māori

Te Kawa a Māui

School of Māori Studies, Wellington University of Victoria

te mana whakahaere

autonomy

Te Māngai Pāho

Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency, Aotearoa

Te Mata

a township in the North Island, NZ

Te Ohu Kaimoana

The Māori Fisheries Trust

Te Ope Kātua o Āotearoa

The New Zealand Defence Force Medals Site

Te Puna Wānanga

Māori Department

Te Puni Kōkiri

Ministry of Māori Development

Te Rā

the 12th day of each month when the Ringatū faith hold service

Te Rakipae Whenua

North Shore

te reo Māori

the Māori language

Te reo kori

the language of movement

Te Rūnanga o Kaikoura

Kaikoura Iwi Authority, South Island, NZ

Te Tai o Marokura

The Environmental Health Team of Kaikoura

Te Wai Pounamu

South Island of New Zealand

Te Whakatōhea

name of an eastern Bay of Plenty Māori tribe, North Island, NZ

Te Whānau-a-Apanui

name of an eastern Bay of Plenty coastal Māori tribe, North Island, NZ

Te-Koau

a son of Muriwai

tī kouka

cabbage tree

tiaki

care for; give guidance

Tihirau

is situated near Cape Runaway

tika

true, authentic; right, correct

tikanga

customs and practices

tikanga Māori

Māori customs and practices

tiki

neck ornament usually made of greenstone, carved in an abstract form of a human

tiki popohe

crude or unfinished hei tiki

tinana

body

tino rangatiratanga

self-governing; having absolute independence and autonomy

Tionga

a famous Māori ancestor

tipuna

ancestor

tīpuna

ancestors; ancestral

tītī

muttonbird

tītī rāhui

prohibition of muttonbird harvesting

tohu

preserve

tohunga

expert, skilled, learned

toi

mountain palm

toi ataata

visual arts

toi iho Māori

trademark authenticating that products are made by Māori

toi pūroro

music

toki

adze, axe

tokotoko

walking stick, pole, staff

Toroa

captain of the Mataatua canoe

toretore

inflamation of the eyes

tōtara

a native and majestic forest tree of Aotearoa

tuakana - teina

elder-younger sibling

Tūhoe

name of an inland eastern Bay of Plenty Māori tribe, North Island, NZ

tukutuku

ornamental lattice work on interior walls of a wharenui or meeting house

tuna

eel

tungāne - tuāhine

male - female

tupuna

ancestor; ancestral

tūpuna

ancestors; ancestral

tupuna awa

ancestral river

Tūranga-Nui-ā-Kiwa

Gisborne, North Island, NZ

tūrangawaewae

a permanent place to stand, a place where one has the right to stand and be heard

tūrangawaewae o Patuharakeke

where the sub tribe of Patuharakeke have the right to stand and be heard

turehu

albino

turuki

arouse, reinforce the force of a rāhui by supplementary incantations

tutaekuri

a variety of potato

tūturu

specific; definite

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ūkaipōtanga

recognition of origins

urekehu

albino

urenika

a variety of potato

ureure

fruit of kiekie (Freycinetia banksit - a climbing plant)

urupā

burial ground, cemetary

uta

inland

utu

revenge; reciprocity

wahapū

gateway

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wāhi Māori

a place or area having Māori spiritual/physical characteristics

wahine

female

wāhine

females

wai

water

waiata

sing, song, chant

waiata aroha

song of love similar to waiata tangi with no set actions

waiata poi

dance performed with a tiny ball on the end of a string

waiata tangi

lament

waiata tawhito

traditional song chant

waiata-ā-ringa

action song

waihanga Māori

particular characteristics, aspects relative to being Māori

Waikokopu

Waikokopu stream

Waipiata

Waipiata Stream

wairangi

excited, wild monster, reckless

wairua

spirit, soul; attitude

wairua Māori

Māori spirit, soul

wairuatanga

recognition of the spiritual dimension

waka

canoe

waka huia

treasure box

waka taua

war canoe

wānaka

Ngāi Tahu dialect for wānanga

wānanga

Māori houses of higher learning, tertiary institute; conscious thought-processing discussion; transmitting the knowledge of the culture from one generation to the next

waro rāhui

name of the theoretical pit that an offender of a rāhui will fall into.

wā tika

right, correct or appropriate time

wero

challenge

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whaea

mother, aunt

whai

string game

whaikōrero

formal speech, oratory

whakaeke

entrance

whakahīhī

arrogant, conceited

whakairo

carve, engrave

whakairo upoko

carved head with protruding tongue

whakaiti

to belittle, ridicule, mock

whakamā

shy; ashamed/shame(d)

whakanoa

to make free from tapu/restriction

whakapapa

genealogy, ancestry, familial relationships; unlike the Western concept of genealogy, whakapapa crosses ancestral boundaries between people and other inhabitants in the natural world

whakapapa Māori

Māori genealogy

whakapiringatanga

a secure, well-managed environment

whakarite

justify

whakatau

critical assessment

whakatauki

proverb

whaka waatea

exit

whakawhanaukataka

Ngāi Tahu dialect for whakawhanaungatanga

whakawhanaungatanga

kinship, links, ties; facilitating a more open relationship then mere researcher and researched; network of interactive links

whakawhitiwhiti kōrero

discussion

whakawhitiwhiti whakaaro

consultation

whānau

family; nuclear/extended family

whanauka

Ngāi Tahu dialect for whanaunga

whanaungatanga

the interrelationship of Māori with their ancestors, their whānau, hapū, iwi as well as the natural resources within their tribal boundaries such as mountains, rivers, streams and forests; recognition of relationships iwi and waka.

whāngai

the introduction of new strips in weaving likened to the whāngai concept of fostering, adopting a child

whare

house

whare tipuna

ancestral house

whare pora

house of weaving

wharepuni

meeting-house

wharenui

meeting house

whāriki

mat

whatu

twining (as in weaving)

whatumanawa

feelings

whenu

twist or spin (in weaving) a strand of cord

whenua

land

whenua

afterbirth

Index:   [ | | h | | k | m | n | ng | | r | t | | w | wh  ]



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