Learn a little, use a little Ahakoa iti, akona, kōrerohia - Māori Language Week

From September 9 to September 15 we celebrate Māori Language week (Te Wiki o te reo Māori)! As one of New Zealand’s official languages, Māori language week is an opportunity for everyone to embrace Te Reo Māori and the culture surrounding the language. This year’s Māori language week theme is Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori which means Let’s make the Māori language strong! The purpose of Maori language week is to bring life into our native language and promote it’s use throughout New Zealand. So what can you do to contribute? Well, we’ve prepared a handy guide with helpful (āwhina) tips, greetings, simple words and phrases, and a step by step way to order your coffee (Kawhe) in Te Reo Māori! Start by trying out simple words and use them in your daily kōrero with your friends and family, it’s one of the easiest ways to remember new languages and pass on what you’re learning along the way.

First, familiarise yourself with your surroundings, what are some day to day things that you could increase your use of Te Reo Māori at home? Take a look around you, what do you see? Your phone or waea pūkoro? Reading this on your laptop or pōnaho? Luckily, there are some resources out there for you to learn more about the maori words for even the simplist of things around you! Pick up that waea pūkoro and download Kupu. This app makes learning maori of every day objects super simple. You take a photo (whakaahua) and it displays the māori word of what that object is, it’s actually fun to see all the different objects it actually picks up. If you’re looking for other words that come to mind download the māori dictionary app or visit the website here (https://maoridictionary.co.nz/) for simple, easy, and accurate translations.

Whether you’re doing the hard work (whakarīrā) getting that essay done (pito kōrero) or at work (mahi) here are some everyday phrases that could come in handy, from asking basic questions to your study buddy to basic food names to practice as you do that weekly flat shop.

  • Try “he pene tāhau” (Do you have a pen I can borrow?) when you have to sign that mandatory attendance sheet in your tutorial, but of course, you’ve forgotten you need to bring a pen.
  • How about using “Me tūtaki tāua ki Te Pātaka Kōrero” (Meet me at the library) when you’re meeting you friend in the library to nail down the revision for a test.
  • Use “kihu parāoa” (Noodles) when you’re talking about your favourite student food.
  • Try “a po kaotoa” (All night) when someone asks the silly question about how long you’ll be doing that essay you were supposed to start 2 months ago.
  • “huawhenua” (vegetable) is perfect when you’re talking about the foods you should be eating as a student but somehow seem to forget to eat.
  • Use “heihei” (Chicken) around the supermarket or when you’re ordering your weekly kebab from the university food court.
  • Try using “ngohi” (Fish) around the supermarket 
  • Using “kotakota rīwai” (Potato Chips) when you’re picking up study snacks for that all-nighter.
  • Use “pukapuka matua” (textbook) when you’re complaining about the costs of that new textbook you’ll pick up and read twice during twice this semester.
  • Substitute lecture for “kauwhau” when explaining to your classmate that there’s no way you can make that 8:30am class.

Māori Greetings are the perfect way to add some a touch of Te Reo to your daily life, whether its a simple hello (Kia Ora), Good Morning (Mōrena), or saying goodbye as you’re leaving the house (e noho rā). Here are some simple greetings to use when you’re out for that Sunday lunch (tina), meeting a new person, or kicking off that work meeting!

  • “E noho rā” (saying goodbye as you’re leaving)
  • “Haere rā” (saying goodbye as when someone else is leaving)
  • “Kia ora or tēnā koe” (greetings to one person)
  • “Tēnā koe e hoa” (greetings to a friend)
  • “Tēnā koutou katoa or Kia ora koutou katoa” (greetings to more than 3 people)
  • “Mōrena” or “Ata Mārie” (Good morning)
  • “Tēnā koe i tēnei ahiahi” (Good Afternoo)
  • “Ko Wai to Ingoa” (What is your name?)
  • “Ko [name] ahau” (My name is [your name]”
  • “me hare tāua te tina?” (Shall I meet you for lunch)
  • “Āe” (Yes
  • “Ehē” No 

What about when your writing that dreaded email to your lecturer, sending an email at work, or signing off that cover letter you’ve been nervous about? These sign offs are a perfect way to introduce Te Reo Māori into an every day part or your life! 
  • Regards (ngā mihi)
  • Many thanks (kia ora rawa atu)
  • All the best (noho ora mai)
  • See you on Monday (Hei te Rāhina)
  • See you tomorrow (hei āpōpō)

It’s mid semester, so we’re under no illusions that means it’s time to get into some deep study with mid semester exams, or even kicking off those huge assignments, which means that much needed dose of caffeine. Why not try some Te Reo while you order your morning coffee (Kawhe), this is a perfect chance to use a little, because lets face it, you’re definitely going to need more than just a morning coffee. Start off with a greeting from the section above (let’s pretend it’s the morning and not your fourth coffee of the day) “Ata Mārie”. Now, ordering your coffee ask “he” (can i have a):
  • “Mōwai” (Flat White)
  • “Pango Roa” (long black)
  • “Rate” (latte)
  • “Kaputino” (Cappucino)
  • “Moka” (Mocha)

In a size:
  • “Paku” (Small)
  • “Waenga” (Medium)
  • “Nui” (Large)

  • “Huka” (sugar)
  • “Miraka Kore Kirimī” (Trim Milk)
  • “Miraka Pīni” (Soy Milk)

If you get stuck, or want to take a look at different ways you can order your coffee in maori check out the full resource here (https://www.restaurantnz.co.nz/resource/order-your-in-coffee-in-maori/)

So no matter what you’re doing this week, try and incorporate te reo māori into your daily lives, whether you’re talking to your whānau, doing your grocery shopping, or studying for that one class that gave you an assignment due after break, or finalising that application for a summer internship! If you’re looking for more tips, head to the resources below to see how you can get involved or learn some new words to use during your kōrero with your friends! 

Find out more about Māori language week: https://www.tewikiotereomaori.co.nz/about/
Te Reo Māori dictionary: https://maoridictionary.co.nz/
Pronunciation tips: https://tetaurawhiri.govt.nz/en/online-resources/rauemi/pronunciation/

Written by Amber Wharepapa, Auckland

(Originally posted in September 2019)