Māori Dictionary
A Maori Dictionary of common words and phrases has been compiled to help with their meanings and pronunciation.
Eske Style would like you to know that the information given below is intended as a general guide only.

           

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Common Words - Kupu Hou

ae - yes

ahi - fire

ahiahi - afternoon

ana - cave

āna


his
hers
yes it is!

anā - there

ēnei - These

anei


Here it is.

anō - again

ao - cloud

āpōpō - tomorrow

āporo - apple

arā - there

ara


path, road

ara pū - alphabet

ārani - orange

Ariki - Chief


Chief
A leader or ruler, head of a tribe, clan .
A first born of high inherited rank.

aroha - love

ata - morning

ātaahua - beautiful

atua - god

auahi - smoke

awa - river

e


Used before a verb with ana following to denote a continuing action.
E moe ana taku pepi. My baby is sleeping.
Used before a verb as a command.
Etu - Stand up.
Used before numbers 2-9 when referring to amounts of things.
E iwa nga heki. There are nine eggs.
Used before terms of address.
Kia ora e hoa. Hello, friend / Hi Mate.

e kai - eat

E noho rā - farewell

E noho. - sit

E tu! - stand

ehara! - not

eke


mount
embark

ēngari - but

ērā


Those over there

ha - breath

Haere


Go, depart.

haerenga


journey, trip

haka


Fierce dance with a chant.
Has been immortalised by New Zealand's Rugby (All Blacks) who preform the haka before every game.

Haka pōhiri


Ceremonial welcome accompanied by a haka

Haka pōwhiri


Ceremonial welcome accompanied by a haka

Hakari - feast


The act of feasting that traditionally applies to the eating of good food recognising the transition from the spiritual realm of the powhiri back into the physical world where food is shared.

Hakatere - Ashburton


The commercial centre of one of New Zealand's agricultural and pastoral regions.

Hangi


Earth oven comprising of a hole in the ground in which food is cooked by heated stones.

hāora - hour

Hapu


Sub-tribe.
Pregnant.

harakeke


flax plant

hari - happy

harikoa - joyous

harirū


Shake hands

hau - wind

haurangi - drunk

He waka


Modes of transport.

he whakamārama - explanations

hea (question word) where ( in place or time)


Kei hea? Where is …?
Ki hea? Where to…?
No hea? From where…?
Ma hea? By what mode of transport?
I hea ? Where was…?
A hea? When? (future only)

Hei kona - Goodbye

Hei konei ra - Goodbye


Expressing good wishes on parting, ending.

hei matau


Fish hook.
Representing prosperity, abundance, fertility and strength. Also seen as good luck charm especially those travelling over water.

heihei - chicken

Hei-Tiki


Greenstone figure worn suspended from the neck.
The squat figure of the tiki is said to represent a human in the embryonic stage depicted in meeting houses or waka carvings. A treasured and revered possession. One of New Zealand's most famous icons.

hēke - egg

hēneti - cent

hiainu - thirsty

hiakai - hungry

hiamoe


tired
sleepy.

hiawai


parched
thirsty
dehydrated

hiki


Lift up
raise up

hīkoi - walk

hine - girl

Hine-te-Aparangi


On sighting land said,
'He ao, he aotea, he Aotearoa'.
It is a cloud, a white cloud, a long white cloud.
Aotearoa - Land of the Long White Cloud.

hipi - sheep

hipohipo - hippopotamus

hīti - sheet

hoa


Friend
mate
buddy.

hoa noho tata - neighbour

hōhā


Feed up, restless

hōiho - horse

hoihoi - noisy

hoko


Buy, trade, sell.

hoko kai


Buy or sell food.

hoko taonga


Buy or sell gifts, or treasured possessions.

Homai


Give me.

hongi


Pressing of noses.
Generally the left hand is placed on each others shoulders and pressing of noses twice. This symbolises Tane (the god of forest) blowing breath into the first human being.

hōnore - honour

hopi - soap

- shoe

hua rākau - fruit

hua whenua - vegetable

Hui


Assembly, gathering

huka - sugar

hukapapa - snow

huna - hide

hunaonga


Son-in-law or Daughter-in-law

huri


Turn, change.

huruhuru


Body hair (not of the head).

hurungutu - moustache

hūtu - suit

Ihu Karaiti - Jesus Christ

ika - fish

ināianei - now

inanahi - yesterday

ingoa - name

īnoi - prayer

inu - drink

ipu - bottle

irāmutu - nephew, niece

iti - small

iwa - nine

iwi - tribe


A group of families, or communities, linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties and usually having a common culture and dialect and a recognized leader.

ki


key
to, at
say, tell, think


Alight,burn.

kaha


Having the power of resistance.
Strong, strength.

Kāhore


Not; no.

kāhu - hawk

kahurangi


The colour blue.
A treasured possession.

Kai - food

Kai Āhia


Asian Food.

Kai Hainamana


Chinese Food

Kai Hapanihi


Japanese Food.

Kai Iniana


Indian Food

Kai Itāriana


Italian Food.

Kai kohua


Boil up.

Kai Korea


Korean Food.

Kai moana


Sea food.

Kai Tairana


Thai Food.

kaiaka


clever man, adept.

kaiako - teacher

kaiāwhina - assistant

Kaihauhau - carvers


A person who produces or shapes a figure or pattern or design by cutting into a hard material.

kaihoko - salesman

kaika


home, village.

kainga


Eating, to be eaten.

Kaitiaki


Guardian, caretaker, protector, trustee.

kaitohutohu


Coach, Instructor.

kaiwhakahaere


organiser, manager.

kaiwhakatika motokā - mechanic

kaka - dress

kākā - parrot

kakahu - clothing

kākahu kaukau


swimming togs

kakahu moe - pyjamas

kakariki


Green.
Parakeet.

kaki - throat

kakiīroa - giraffe

kanga - corn

kānga papi - popcorn

kangarū - kangaroo

kanikani - dance

Kapa Haka


Māori Performing Arts

kāpeti - cabbage

kara - colour

karaka


Clock.
The colour orange.

Karanga


Call. Especially used to welcome visitors onto a Marae.

karapu - glove

kararahe - animal

kare


Dear - A term of endearment.

katakata - laugh

katau - right

kāti - stop

katoa


All, altogether, whole

kau - cow

Kaua e pērā


Don't so that.
Don't be like that.

Kaumātua


Elderly Person.

kaupapa


Subject, topic, reason.

Kauri


A coniferous New Zealand tree, Agathis australis, which produces valuable timber and a resin.

kāwhe - calf

Kei


Kei – a present tense marker
Kei toma ngā rāpeti - The rabbits are runng.
Denotes present location
Kei runga ngā kī te tēpu - The keys are on the table.
In possession of (not necessarily owned)
Kei a Pita te motoka - Peter has the car.

keke - cake

kēkē - armpit

kēmu - game

kererū - pigeon

kete


Basket, kit, bag.

kia


used to introduce a preferred future action or state.
Kia tere. Be quick.

kianga - phrase


A group of words forming a conceptual unit, but not a sentence.

kihi - kiss

kikinati - coconut

kikorangi - blue

kimi - search

kimi mahi


Seek work.

kina


sea egg.
Are a much loved summer food of the Māori, being found at low tide in rock crevices and under ledges of rock.
When the Kowhai is in bloom the kina tongues are yellow and full, but sour; when the Pohutukawa is in bloom, they are red, full and sweet. Kina may be harvested during the months of October, November, December, January and February. The best times to harvest them are at low tide on the first, second and third days after the full moon.

kīnaki


Relish, sauce.

kino - bad

kiore - rat


Māori name for a species of rat (rattus exulans). It is the world's third most widely distributed rat, found throughout the Asia/Pacific area.

kirikiti - cricket

kirimangu


Dark-skinned

kiritea


Fair skinned

kiriweti


Hot tempered, impatient.

kirokaramu - kilogram

kiromita - kilometre

kite


See, perceive

kitenga - vision

Kiwi


A flightless and nocturnal bird, a New Zealand icon.
A nickname for New Zealand residents.

Kiwiana


Any of the many collectable, items reminiscent of New Zealand life and culture.


Yonder place.

Ko


Used before names, pronouns and nouns
Ko Mere toku ingoa. My name is Mary.

kō atu


The farther side.

koa


Happy, joyful

Koata ki te


Quarter to (time)

koata pahi


Quarter past (time)

koha


Are gifts, often of food or traditional items, though money is most commonly used today. The essence of koha is that it is voluntary and comes from the heart, so to specify the amount is contrary to its spirit. Recipients rely on the donors' aroha (empathy), manaakitanga (cherishing) and wairua (spirit) to ensure that it is enough. Thanks for koha are accordingly warm.

kōhai - yellow

Kōhanga


Language nest.
Maori immersion pre-school

kōhatu - stone

kōhua - pot

koi


Sharp, pointed.

Koi te hinengaro


On to it, sharp, intelligent

koia rā


That is

kōkā - mother

kōmako - Bellbird

konā


That place (closer to listener)

konei


This place (closer to speaker)

kora


That place yonder.

kore


Nothing, zero.

korekau


Nothing at all

kōrere wai - tap

kōrero


Speak, say, talk

kōrero tŪtaki - introduction

korimako - Bellbird

koro


Elderly man.

koropupū


Bubble up, boil.

kororā - penguin

korōria - glory

koroua


Old man, grandfather, elderly man

korowai - cloak


A finely woven Māori cloak which is worn as a mantle of prestige and honour.

koru


Representing the fern frong as it opens bringing new liffe and purity to the world.

kōrua


You too.

kotahi - one


Single and integral in number.

kotahi rau - one hundred

koti


coat
goat

kōtiro - girl

kōura


gold
crayfish

kōwhai - yellow

kowhitiwhiti - grasshopper

kūhā - thighs

kuhu


Enter, go into.

kui


Term of address for an elderly Māori woman.

kuia


Grandmother, elderly woman

kumara


sweet potato

kupu - word


A sound or combination of sounds forming a meaningful element of speech, usually shown with a space on either side of it when written or printed, used as part of a sentence.

kupu āhua


describing word, adjective.
A word or phrase naming an attribute, added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify it or describe it.

kupu ārahi


Guiding words, guideline

kupu hāngai - opposites

kupu hou


New words, new vocabulary.

kupu ingoa


a naming word, a noun

kupu mahi


an action word, a verb

kupu wā


Words related to time.

kupu wahi


Location words

kura


Of or near the colour seen at the least-refracted end of the visible spectrum, of shades ranging from that of blood to pink or deep orange.

Kura


school
red

kutikuti - scissors

kūwhā - thighs

ma


White, clear

makariri - cold

manga


Branch, tributary or stream.

mangu - black

manu - bird

mata


Face, screen, eye, edge, headland, point, mesh of a net

mātau


know
understand

matau


right (hand)

mate


sick, dead, suffer, die.

mateinu - thirsty

matekai


hungry, staving

matemoe - tired

matewai - dehydrated

mātou


we
us

mātua


parents
relatives of your parents'
generations
guardians

matua


parent
father

matua kēkē


uncle

māua


we
us (two people excluding the person being addressed)

māuiui - sick

maumahara


remember
memories

maunga - mountain

maungaārongo


peace

mauri


life principle
essence

mauriora


vitality of life principle.
Tihē Mauriora!
Behold! ' Tis the breath of life'.
Oten used before speech-making to gain listeners' attention, break the ice and clear the way for the coming speech.

mauritau


at ease or peace
absence of panic

mawhero - pink

menemene - smile

meneti - minute

mere


flat club for hand-to-hand fighting usually made of greenstone or wood

miere - honey

mihi


to greet
acknowledge

mihi ki te tangata


greeting people

mīhini kawhe - coffee machine

mīhini


machine
engine

mīhini heu - shaving machine

mīhini horoi kākahu - washing machine

mīhini kōrori - blender

miriona - million

miro - thread

moana - sea

moe - sleep

moemoeā


dream
aspiration

mōhio - know

mōhiti/mōwhiti - eye-glasses

mokopuna - grandchild

mokopuna tuarua - great-grandchid

momo


type of
sort of

mōmona


fat
overweight

moni - money

mōrena


Good Morning.

mōteatea


lament
song of mourning

motokā


car
motor vehicle

motopaika - motor bike

motu - island

muri - end

mutu


End, finsihed

nā reira


therefore

nā te mea - because

nā wai


who did (action)
whose is…

nāku


by me
belonging to me
mine

nama wae


phone number

nanahi - yesterday

Nau mai - Welcome

nē ra


is that right

nēhi - nurse

neketai - neck tie

netpāoro - netball

ngōku - my

ngā


the (plural)

ngā hui - meetings

ngā rōpū tāngata


groups of people

ngā ūmanga - professions

ngahau


fun
enjoyable

ngahere - forest

ngāi


introduces a tribal group

ngākau


heart
seat of affections or feelings

ngākau māhaki


gentle spirit
mild-mannered
kind

ngākau nui


big hearted
a giving person

ngaro


lost
out of sight

ngāti


clan
tribe

ngawi


a native tussock grass

ngenge


tired
exhausted

ngenge - tired

ngeri


traditional chant

ngeru - cat

ngira - needle

ngoikore


weak
listless

ngōki - crawl

ngongoro - snore


snore


from
belonging to

nō hea


from where?
Regarding a place, region or tribe

nō reira


therefore

nō whea


from where?
Regarding a place, region or tribe

noa


free from tapu or any other restriction.
The opposite of tapu.
Tapu and noa things must be kept separate Examples are food and alcohol.
For that reason, it is culturally offensive to sit on a food table, put a hat on a food table, pass food over a person's head, sit on their pillow, or walk over their outstretched legs.
Male things are tapu and female are noa, a fact that brings traditional Māori culture into conflict with modern European views about sex roles.
It would be very misleading, however to translate noa as "unclean" or "impure". Tapu and noa both have their roles, and things that have been made tapu must be made noa before they can be used in an ordinary way. People are made tapu by entering a meeting house, and the image over the door is often female to make them noa again. A lengthy ceremony (kawa in its strict sense) is required to desanctify (whakanoa) a new carved house before it can be used.

noa


from
belonging to

noa iho - only

noho


sit
stay
live

noho puku


sit quietly
go without food

noke - worm

nui


Large, big, many, plentiful, abundant, superior, of high rank, important.

o


Of, or the place of.

oho


be awake: used with e as a command
E oho - Wake up

ōku - mine

oma - run

ēnā


Those near you.

ōna


his/her (one owner, more than one possission)

one


Beach, sand, mud.

one


beach
sand
mud

ope - group

ora - well

ora


alive
well
in good health
safe

oranga


life
living

oranga tonutanga - everlasting life


term of address for father
to touch or feel

pae


Ridge or resting place

pāhau - beard

pāhi - strong

pāhi


past
purse

pahi - bus

pahikete kākahu - clothes basket

pahiketepāoro - basketball

pai - good

paināporo - pineapple

pakaru - broken

Pākehā


person of non-māori descent (European)

pakipaki


to clap

pango - black

pānui


newsletter
memo
advertisement

papa


Broad, flat or hard

papa mātauranga whānui - encyclopedia

Papa-tū-ānuku - Mother Earth

paru - dirty

patu


strike
beat
club
weapon

patu paraoa - whale

patu pounamu - greenstone club

pāua


abalone
Shellfish delicacy of New Zealand

pekepeki - jump

pirihimana - policeman

pirinoa


a parasitic climbing plant

- night

poaka - pig

pōhatu - rock

Pohutukawa


Red flowered native tree known as New Zealand Christmas Tree

poi


small swinging ball attached ot a string

pou - night


The period of darkness between one day and the next; the time from sunset to sunrise.

pounamu - greenstone

pōuri - sad

poroporoaki - farewll

puke - hill

pukeko - swamp hen


swamp hen

pukuriri - angry

puna


spring of water

punga - anchor

putiputi - flower


day
sun

Raetea


Raetea - A mythical taniwha dragon in Māori mythology.

rākau


wood
stick

rangatahi


youth
teenager

Rangatira


person of chiefly rank

Rangi - sky

Ranginui


The Sky Father

rāpeti - rabbit

raro - bottom

raruraru - trouble

rau


Hundred, many, leaf, oar blade.

reo - language

reta - letter

riki


Small, few, minor.

rima - five

rito


centre shoot of flax

riwai - potatoe

roa


Long or high.

rohe


district
region

Rongo


god of peace used to refer to the peaceful domain within the meeting house

rōpū - group

roto - lake

rourou


a food basket

rua


Two
pit for storing food
hole.

runanga


tribal or public assembly, conference, council

ruru


owl or morepork

ta moko


Māori tattooing the story of the person within the skin.

tahi


One, single

tai


Sea, coast or tide.

taiaha


weapon of hard wood about 1.6 metres with one end carved and decorated, the other en a smooth flat blade.

tama


son
youth

tamāhine - daughter

tamariki - children

tanē


man
husband

Tanē Mahuta


Guardian of the Forests

tanekaha - bark

tāngata - people

tangata


man
human being

tangi


funeral
cry of lament
to weep

tangihanga


funeral ceremonies - when body is mourned on a marae.

taniwha


water monster

Taniwha


Taniwha - a monster supposed to reside in deep water

tāone - town

taonga


treasured possession

tapu


sacred, holy or forbidden.
Things or places that are tapu should not be interfered with.
Examples are the dead, a person's head and the work of carving.

tapu


Forbidden, sacred

tauiwi - foreigner

Tauwharenikau


house with walls and roof thatched with nikau leaves

te


the (singular)

te ao


The world

te reo māori


The Māori Language

te whānau


the family

tea


White or clear

tihoa


to delay
to wait

tika


just
fair
correct

tikanga


The Māori tikanga has a wide range of meanings:
convention, culture, custom, ethic, etiquette, fashion, formality, lore, manner, meaning, mechanism, method, protocol, style.
Generally taken to mean "the Māori way of doing things", it is derived from the Māori word tika meaning right or correct.

tino rangatiratanga


main chieftainship

tipuna - ancestor

titiro - look

tohunga


a healer or a priest

toru - three

Totara


native forest tree

tuahine


sister.
Commonly used by a male addressing a female sibling

Tūmatauenga


God of warfare

tupuna - ancestor

tūrangawaewae


a place to stand
a place to belong to

uhi


chised for puncturing skin in tattooing

uku


white clay used as soap

ūmanga


occupation
profession

uta - ashore

utu


revenge, retribution, return (for anything), satisfaction, ransom, compensation, reward, price.

wāhi


a place or locality

wahi tapu


sacred place

wahine


woman
wife

wāhine


women
wives

wai - water

waiata


song or chant that follows speeches

wairua - spirit

waka - c


canoe - all iwi and hapū descended from the crew of a founding waka.
Car or vehicle

wakarongo - listen

waru - eight

wera - hot

wera - hot

wero - challenge

wha - four

whaikōrero


Formal greetings and speeches between hosts (tangata whenua) and visitors (manuhiri) usually on a Marae.

whaka - canoe

whakairo - carving

whakapapa


Genealogy, history

whakaroko - listen

Whakarongo - listen

whakataukī


A proverbial saying

whānau


The name given to family, meaning immediate family, those connected by blood ties and in-laws, extended family.

whanaunga


Kin, relatives.

whanga


Harbour, bay, inlet

whāngai


Fostered or adopted child.

whare Wananga


A university, or a learning place

whare whakaahua


Art Gallery

whata


Elevated stage for storing food and for other purposes.

wheke


Octopus, squid.

wheku


Distorted figure in carving

whenua


Land, homeland, country.
Afterbirth, placenta.

whero - red


A colour

whetu - star

whitu - seven

wīki - week

wīki - week

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