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Thread: Learning about Maori words and customs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Wellington, originally USA

    Default Learning about Maori words and customs

    We went to the Waitangi Day festivities (open to the public) at Whakarongotai Marae in Waikanae, and the local council was giving away copies of a new publication. It's called Tangata Whenua Ki Kapiti (People of the Land). It's a short guide to the local history, meaning of place names, local Maori groups (iwi), and customs. Especially helpful was the section on tikanga (etiquette).

    I suspect that the Kapiti libraries will also have copies to give away soon, but that would only help you if you were living or visiting here.

    If you aren't in Kapiti, but are interested in learning more on this topic, I found this website helpful for learning some maori words and customs:

    And specifically this on protocol for visiting a marae:

    I don't recall seeing this on the forum before, but it would be helpful to have some kind of guide to the most critical Maori words in everyday usage, for newcomers. This page has a huge list:

    But you that's a lot to take on board all at once. So I was trying to think of the words I hear and see the most, things like ...

    mana = power, authority
    tane = man
    wahine = woman (you really want to know those when you are looking for a toilet)
    whakapapa = genealogy (also the name of a ski field)
    whānau = family (includes extended family)
    tapu = sacred or taboo
    Pākehā: people of non-Māori origin, usually meaning New Zealand born with European ancestry
    kai: food

    Any more you can think of? And correct me if I have the meaning wrong.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Lincoln, UK to Rotorua, NZ


    Aroha - Love
    Whare - House
    Manaakitanga - Respect
    Ka pai - Good
    Ke te pai - I'm good

    Here's another great resource
    Last edited by MetalSoul; 8th February 2013 at 01:25 PM.

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