List of English words of Māori origin

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The following Māori words exist as loanwords in English. Many of them concern endemic New Zealand flora and fauna that were known prior to the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand. Other terms relate to Māori customs. All of these words are commonly encountered in New Zealand English, and several (such as kiwi) are widely used across other varieties of English, and in other languages. In general, words that are written with macrons in Māori are written without macrons in New Zealand English, though the macron is becoming more widely used in New Zealand English.

Flora and fauna[edit]

A kea
A pair of pōhutukawa trees
An artist's recreation of the head of a kaiwhekea

The accepted English common names of a number of species of animal and plant endemic to New Zealand are simply their Māori names or a close equivalent:

huhu 
a type of large beetle
huia 
a recently extinct bird, much prized traditionally by Māori for its feathers
kākā 
a native parrot
kākāpō 
a rare native bird
kahikatea 
a type of large tree
kaiwhekea 
a type of prehistoric plesiosaur
katipo 
a venomous native spider
kauri 
large conifer in the Araucariaceae
kea 
a parrot, the world's only alpine parrot
kererū 
the native wood pigeon
kina 
the sea-urchin, eaten as a delicacy
kiwi 
the bird, a New Zealander, or (not in New Zealand) kiwi fruit
kōkako 
a rare type of bird
kowhai 
a type of flowering tree
kūmara 
sweet potato
mako 
a shark, considered a magnificent fighting game fish
mamaku 
a type of large tree fern
moa 
extinct giant flightless bird
pāua 
abalone
pōhutukawa 
a type of flowering tree
ponga (also spelt punga
the silver fern, often used as a symbol for New Zealand
pukeko 
a wading bird, the purple swamphen
rātā 
a type of flowering tree
rimu 
a tree, the red pine
takahē 
a rare wading bird
toheroa 
a shellfish
tōtara 
an evergreen tree
tuatara 
rare lizard-like reptile, not closely related to any other living species
tui 
the parsonbird
weka 
a flightless bird of the rail family
weta 
a large native insect, similar to a cricket
whekī 
a type of tree fern

Placenames[edit]

View over Greater Tauranga, taken from the top of Mauao

Thousands of Māori placenames (with or without anglicisation) are now official in New Zealand. These include:

There is a movement to replace anglicised words and return placenames to their original Māori forms. See for example Whanganui. Some Treaty of Waitangi settlements have included placename changes.

Many New Zealand rivers and lakes have Māori names; these names predominantly use the prefixes wai- (water) and roto- (lake) respectively. Examples include the Waikato, Waipa and Waimakariri rivers, and lakes Rotorua, Rotomahana and Rotoiti.

A Māori name for New Zealand, Aotearoa, has gained some currency as a more acceptable alternative. It appears in the names of some political parties, e.g. Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand and Communist Party of Aotearoa.

Other words and phrases[edit]

Putting down a hāngi
Terraces on Mt Eden, Auckland, marking the sites of the defensive palisades and ditches of this former
Pounamu pendant
Waka taua (war canoes) at the Bay of Islands, 1827-8. The word has also given rise to the phrase waka-jumping, in New Zealand politics.
The foreshore and seabed hikoi approaching the Parliament of New Zealand. The red black and white flags represent tino rangatiratanga.
aroha 
love, sympathy, compassion
arohanui 
"lots of love", commonly as a valediction[2][3]
haere mai and haere ra
welcome and goodbye (respectively)
haka 
traditional Māori dance, not always a war-dance, often performed by New Zealand sports teams to 'intimidate' opponents; see Haka of the All Blacks
hāngi 
(1) earth oven used to cook large quantities of food (2) the food cooked in the hāngi
hapū
clan or subtribe, part of an iwi
hikoi 
march or walk
hongi 
traditional Māori greeting featuring the pressing together of noses
hui 
meeting, conference
iwi 
tribe
kai 
food[4]
kai moana 
sea food
kapa haka 
a cultural festival or music and dance
ka pai 
very pleasant; good, fine. From Māori 'ka pai'[4]
karakia 
sung prayer or welcome
kaupapa 
policy or principle
kāwanatanga 
sovereignty
kia kaha 
an expression of support, lit. be strong
kia ora 
a greeting, lit. be healthy
koha 
gift, present, offering, donation, contribution[5]
kōhanga reo 
Māori language preschool (literally 'language nest')
kōrero 
to talk; to speak Māori; story
koru 
stylised fern frond pattern, used in art
Kura Kaupapa Māori
Maori language school
mahinga mātaitai 
traditional seafood gathering place
mana 
regard in which someone is held; respect of their authority; reputation[6]
manaia 
guardian spirit, often found in Māori artwork and carving
Māoritanga
Māori culture, traditions, and way of life, lit. Māoriness
marae 
a communal or sacred place that serves religious and social purposes in Māori society
Matariki 
midwinter festival, the Māori new year, lit. the star cluster of the Pleiades
mihi 
lit. greet, acknowledge; sometimes used for internet board or forum message
moko 
facial tattoo
mokopuna 
descendants, young children. Lit. grandchildren
Ngaire 
woman's name, origin unknown
 
hill fort
Pākehā 
New Zealander of non-Māori descent, usually European
Papakāinga 
land used as housing by a hapu or whanau group
poi
A dance art that originated in Māori culture and is now popular in object-manipulation communities
pounamu 
greenstone, jade, nephrite
pōwhiri 
ceremony of welcome[7]
puku 
abdomen, tummy, usually a big one[8]
rāhui 
a ban or prohibition
rohe 
homeland, tribal area
tangata whenua 
home tribe of a given marae or district; by extension, Māori in the New Zealand context. Lit. people of the land.[9]
taniwha 
mythical water monster
tangi 
funeral, rites for the dead
taonga 
sacred treasure. Māori usage: property, goods, possessions, effects, treasure, something prized
tapu 
sacred, taboo; to be avoided because of this; (a cognate of the Tongan tabu, origin of the English borrowing of taboo)
te reo 
the Māori language (literally, 'the language')
tiki 
stylised representation of a male human, found in Māori artwork and carving
tino rangatiratanga 
a political term, sometimes translated as "chieftainship"
tukutuku 
traditional woven panels
utu 
revenge. Māori usage: revenge, cost, price, wage, fee, payment, salary, reciprocity
wāhi tapu 
sacred site
wai 
water
waiata 
singing, song
waka 
canoe, giving rise to the political phrase waka-jumping.[10] (modern Māori usage includes automobiles)
whānau
extended family or community of related families[11]
whare 
house, building

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The name "Otago", and several other placenames in the southern South Island have names from a southern dialect of Māori, and thus these names are not in keeping with standard Māori spelling. Other names of this type include Lake Waihola and Wangaloa.
  2. ^ 'Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Farewell from Ambassador McCormick", US Embassy
  3. ^ 'Arohanui Howard Morrison, New Zealand Woman's Weekly
  4. ^ a b "Kiwis say ka pai to pie kai". The New Zealand Herald. 3 October 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  5. ^ Benson, Nigel (2 April 2009). "Festival goes glam today". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 19 October 2011. "There is also a 2pm matinee today. Entry is by koha" 
  6. ^ "Rugby: Fitzy gracious as record set to fall". Otago Daily Times. NZPA. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Constantine, Ellie (18 February 2009). "New commander for district". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  8. ^ George, Garth (2 November 2006). "Garth George: Beware decrees from little dictators about what to eat". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Conway, Glenn (7 March 2008). "Local Maori excited about fishing reserve decision". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  10. ^ Gay, Edward (6 February 2010). "New and old waka celebrate Waitangi". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Fox, Rebecca (26 April 2008). "Whanau given POW journal". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 19 October 2011.