Te Reo Māori Glossary

Glossary of Māori terms 

Te Reo Māori term

English terminology

Scientific term

 

 

 

A

 

 

Aroha

Show sincerity and mutual respect

 

Atua

Ancestor with continuing influence, god, supernatural being, deity

 

Aua

Yellow eyed mullet

Aldrichetta forsteri

Awa

River, stream, creek

 

 

 

 

H

 

 

Hapū

Sub-tribe

 

Harakeke

Flax

Phormium tenax

Hui

Assemble, assembly, meeting, gathering

 

 

 

 

I

 

 

īnanga

Common galaxias, juveniles are a component of the whitebait catch

Galaxias maculatus

Iwi

Tribe, nation, people, society

 

 

 

 

K

 

 

Kāeo

Freshwater mussel

Hyridella menziesi

Kāinga

Home, abode, dwelling

 

Kākahi

Freshwater mussel

Hyridella menziesi

Kahikatea

White pine

Dacrycarpus dacrydioides

Kai

Eat, food, dine

 

Kai awa

Food from the river

 

Kaimoana

Food from the sea

 

Kaitiaki

Guardian, caretaker, manager, trustee

 

Kaitiakitanga

Guardianship

 

Kanohi kitea

The ‘seen face’

 

Karakia

Incantation, prayer, chant

 

Kaumatua

Elder (singular), not gender specific

 

Kaumātua

Elders (plural), not gender specific

 

Kaupapa

Strategy, theme, philosophy

 

Kawa

Ceremonial rituals, protocol

 

Koikoi

Species of fern

Blechnum minus 

Kōaro

Climbing galaxias, juveniles are a component of the whitebait catch

Galaxias brevipinnis

Kōhanga

Nest, nursery

 

Kōkopu

Galaxiids (including banded, giant, and short jaw kōkopu), juveniles are a component of the whitebait catch

 

Kōrero

Speech, narrative, story, news, account, discussion, conversation, discourse

 

Kōura

Freshwater crayfish

Paranephrops spp.

Kōwhai

Trees in the genus Sophora native to New Zealand

Sophora spp.

Korimako

Bellbird

Anthornis melanura

Korowai

Cloak

 

Kuia

Female elder

 

Kura

School, education, learning, gathering. (Kura kaupapa are schools which operate under Māori custom, using Māori  as the medium of instruction)

 

Kuta

Great spike rush, bamboo spike-sedge

Eleocharis sphacelata 

 

 

 

M

 

 

Māhaki

Exercise humility

 

Mānuka

Tea tree

Leptospermum scoparium

Mātauranga Māori

Indigenous person of Aotearoa/
New Zealand

 

Mātauranga Māori

Māori knowledge - the body of knowledge originating from Māori ancestors, including the Māori world view and perspectives, Māori creativity and cultural practices

 

Mahinga kai

Food gathering areas

 

Mana

Prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma - mana is a supernatural force in a person, place or object

 

Manāki tangata

Practise reciprocity and generosity

 

Manākitanga

Hospitality (ability of hosts to care for their visitors), kindness, blessing

 

Manuhiri

Visitor, guest

 

Marae

Sacred meeting place, courtyard in front of the wharenui (meeting house)

 

Mauri

Life principal/force, entity

 

Mokopuna

Grandchild, descendant

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

Ngā Waihotanga Iho

What is left behind, lift up


Iwi Estuarine Monitoring Toolkit

Ngāwhā

Geothermal hot pools, boiling spring, volcanic activity, boiling mud pool, fumarole, sulphur water, geyser

 

 

 

 

P

 

 

Traditional settlement

 

Pā tuna

Eel weirs

 

Pānui

Announcement, advertise

 

Pātiki

Flounder

Rhombosolea plebeia

Pīharau

Lamprey

Geotria australis 

Pōrohe

Common smelt

Retropinna retropinna 

 

 

 

R

 

 

Rāhui

To put in place a temporary ritual prohibition, closed season, ban, reserve - traditionally a rāhui was placed on an area, resource or stretch of water as a conservation measure or as a means of social and political control for a variety of reasons which can be grouped into three main categories: pollution by tapu, conservation and politics

 

Rama kōura

Spotlighting - to catch kōura by torchlight

 

Rangatahi

Youth, younger generation

 

Rangatira

Chief (male or female), leader, proprietor - qualities of a leader is a concern for the integrity and prosperity of the people, the land, the language and other cultural treasures and an assertive and sustained response to outside forces that may threaten these

 

Rangatiratanga

Sovereignty, chieftainship, leadership, right to exercise authority, chiefly autonomy, self-determination, self-management, ability to lead, ownership

 

Raupatu

Invasion and war by land and by the Waikato River, and subsequent confiscation of Waikato lands

 

Raupō

Bullrush, cat’s-tail

Typha orientalis

Rohe

Tribal boundary, district, region, territory, area, border (of land)

 

Rongoā

Remedy, medicine, drug, cure, medication, treatment, solution (to a problem), tonic

 

Ruru

Morepork

Ninox novaeseelandiae 

 

 

 

T

 

 

Tamariki

Children

 

Tangata whenua

People of the land, locals, host, resident, people born of the whenua, i.e. of the placenta and of the land where the people's ancestors have lived and where their placenta are buried

 

Tangi

Mourn, funeral

 

Tangihanga

Weeping, crying, funeral, rites for the dead

 

Taniwha

Metaphor for a chief, a monster good and bad that resides in water, taniwha take many forms from logs to reptiles and whales and often live in lakes, rivers or the sea. They are often regarded as guardians by the people who live in their territory/Also can be an area to be aware of danger/kia tupato – see tapu

 

Taonga

Goods, possessions, effects, treasure, gifts, something prized

 

Taonga tuku iho

Treasure handed down, similar to inheritance

 

Tapu

Restriction - a supernatural condition. A person, place or thing is dedicated to an atua and is thus removed from the sphere of the profane and put into the sphere of the sacred. It is untouchable, no longer to be put to common use. Tapu was used as a way to control how people behaved towards each other and the environment, placing restrictions upon society to ensure that society flourished

 

Tau kōura

Te Arawa method of catching kōura

 

Te Reo Māori

Māori language

 

Teina (singular), tēina (plural)

Younger brother(s) (of a male), younger sister(s) (of a female), junior relative(s)

 

Tikanga

Correct procedure, custom, habit, lore, method, manner, rule, way, code, meaning, plan, practice, convention

 

Toetoe

Species of tall grasses native to New Zealand

Cortaderia spp.  

Tohu

Sign, identify, mark, symbol, indicate

 

Tōtara

Species of podocarp tree endemic to New Zealand

Podacarpus totara

Tuakana (singular), Tuākana (plural)

Elder brother (of a male), elder sister (of a female), senior relative

 

Tuna

Freshwater eel

Anguilla dieffenbachii (longfin); Anguilla australis (shortfin)

Tūpuna (singular), tupuna (plural)

Ancestor(s)

 

Tūī

Parson bird

Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae 

Tūrangawaewae

A place to stand, home ground, place where one has rights of residence and belonging through kinship and whakapapa

 

Tūpatotanga

Demonstrate caution

 

 

 

 

U

 

 

Urupā 

Cemetery, burial place, graveyard

 

 

 

 

W

 

 

Wāhi tapu

Shrine, sanctuary, sacred area/place

 

 nanga

Place of learning

 

Wai

Water

 

Wairua

Spirit, soul

 

Waka

Canoe

 

Whānau

Extended family, family group, to be born

 

Whakairo

Carving

 

Whakamā 

Be ashamed, shy, bashful, embarrassed

 

Whakapapa

Genealogy, genealogical table, lineage, descent, ancestry

 

Whakawhanaungatanga

Honour relationships

 

Whanaungatanga

Relationship, kinship, sense of family connection - a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the whaanau. It also extends to others to whom one develops a close familial, friendship or reciprocal relationship

 

Whareweku

Bracken fern bundles, component of the tau kōura 

 

Whenua

Land, country, earth, placenta, afterbirth