Te Papa is open. Visiting Te Papa during Alert Level 2
Kei te tuwhera a Te Papa. Te toronga mai ki Te Papa i raro i te Pae Mataara 2

Te reo Māori glossary

Here are some of the te reo Māori

  te reo Māorithe Māori languageMāori
words you might encounter during your visit to Te Papa or on our websites.

Click on each word or phrase, and then on the speaker icon, to hear how you pronounce it.

Can’t find the word you’re looking for? Check out Māori Dictionary.

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A

Kupu Definition Audio file
āhea time/when
Ahitereiria Australia
aihe dolphin
amo bargeboard support
amokura red-tailed tropicbird, Phaethon rubricauda
anga shells
Aotea Great Barrier Island
Aotearoa the Māori name for Aotearoa New Zealand
arawai streams
arero tongue
aroha love
atua god
au cloud
awa rivers

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E

Kupu Definition Audio file
e noho rā goodbye

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H

Kupu Definition Audio file
breath
haere mai welcome
haka ceremonial dance
hāngi earth oven, food cooked in an earth oven
hapū subtribe, or to be pregnant
harakeke Aotearoa New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax
hau vital essence, wind
Hauturu Little Barrier Island
Hawaiki Pacific homelands
he reka delicious
hei konei rā goodbye
hei tiki pendant in human form
hēki egg
hihi stitchbirds
hīkoi

walk, march

hīnaki eel trap
hīnātore to shine
hoa friend, friends
hoeroa staff
hopu whakāhua photography
hui to gather, meeting
huruhuru feathers

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I

Kupu Definition Audio file
ihi essential force
ihu nose
īnanga whitebait
iti small
iwi tribe

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K

Kupu Definition Audio file
kāeo sea tulips
Kāhui Assembly
Kāhui Kaumātua Council of Elders
kai food
kaimoana seafood, shellfish
kāinga home
kaitiaki guardian
kaitiakitanga guardianship, stewardship
kaiwhatu weavers
kākahu clothes, cloak
kakama agile
kākāpō green parrot, Strigops habroptilus
kakī neck
kapa haka Māori performing arts
kapokapowai dragonflies
karakia incantation, prayer
karanga to call
kātote soft tree fern
kauae jaw
kaupapa plan, purpose
kauri kauri tree, Agathis australis
kea mountain parrot, Nestor notabilis
kērerū Aotearoa New Zealand woodpigeon, Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae
kete basket
ki hea where
kia ora greeting, hello
kina sea urchin, Evechinus chloroticus
kiore rat, Rattus exulans
kiwi kiwi bird
koha gift
kōhanga nest
kōkako orange-wattled crow, Callaeas cinerea
kōmako Aotearoa New Zealand bellbird, Anthornis melanura
kōpū belly
kōpūwai rey mullet, Mugil cephalus
kōpūwaitōtara puffer fish, Allomycterus jaculiferus
kōrero talk, stories, or discussion
kōwhaiwhai painted rafters
kua ea victory
kūi he tiger beetle grub, Neocicindela tuberculata
kuia grandmother, female elder
kupu word
kurī dog

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M

Kupu Definition Audio file
mahi work
Mahitahi South Island town (Bruce Bay)
maihi bargeboard
Maitahi alternative placename for Mahitahi
mana authority, power, prestige
mana whenua authority over land or territory
manaia supernatural being
manākitanga hospitality, kindness, generosity
manawa heart
manga branch (of a river or tree)
Mangawhai town in Northland
mānia slip
manu bird
manu moana sea birds
manu whenua visitors or guests
manuhiri visitors
mānuka tea-tree, Leptospermum scoparium
Māori indigenous New Zealander, indigenous person from Aotearoa New Zealand
marae open area in front of the main meeting house
marae ātea open area in front of the main meeting house
maramataka Māori lunar calendar
Matariki Māori New Year and the Pleiades star cluster
mātauranga Māori knowledge
Mātauranga Māori Māori knowledge
matuku white-faced heron Egretta novaehollandiae
Māui storyteller and trickster
maunga mountain
mauri life force
māwhero pink
mīere honey
mihingare missionary
moa large extinct flightless bird
moana sea
moko tattoos, reptiles, grandchild
mokomoko grandmother, female elder
momo species
motu island, country, land
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa our Māori name, ‘Te Papa Tongarewa’, translates literally to ‘container of treasures’

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N

Kupu Definition Audio file
namu sandflies
nau mai welcome greeting
ngā hēki eggs
ngā maunga mountains
ngā ngutu beaks
ngahere forest
ngahere tawai beech forests
ngāi tātou referring to everyone present
Ngāti Toa Rangatira Ngāti Toa Rangatira tribe
Ngāuruhoe Mount Ngāuruhoe
ngeru cats
ngū squid
niho teeth
noa unrestricted
noke worms
nui size, big

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O

Kupu Definition Audio file
one beach

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P

Kupu Definition Audio file
fortified village
pae perch
paikea humpback whale
pakanga o ngā manu battle of the birds
Pākehā European New Zealanders
pakerewha pale beings who bring sickness
papa plank
Papatūānuku the earth mother
para frost fish
paraki smelt
parāoa sperm whale
pare lintel
parirau wings
pātaka (food) storehouse
pekapeka bat
pepeke insects jumping
pēpeke insect crouching
piharau lamprey
pīpī chicks
piupiu flax skirt
pīwakawaka fantail, Rhipidura fuliginosa
dark, night
poaka pig
pōhiri welcoming ceremony on a marae
poho chest
pokipoki rat trap
Pōneke Wellington
ponga silver fern
poto young (fish)
pou post
pou pou panels
pou tokomanawa central support pole of a meeting house
pouākai Haast's eagle
pounamu Aotearoa New Zealand greenstone
pōuri dark
pōwhiri welcoming ceremony on a marae
pūkaki stream
pukapuka book
pukapuka mahi activity book
puke hill
pūkeko purple swamp hen, Porphyrio porphyrio
puku belly
pūngāwerewere spiders
putiputi flower
pūwhara lookout

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R

Kupu Definition Audio file
rākau trees
rakiura Stewart Island
rangahau research
rangatahi youth
rangatira leader
rangi sky
Ranginui the sky father
rāpeti rabbit
raranga weaving
Rātana Rātana, placename
raupatu conquest
rawe excellent
Rehua Antares (star)
rerekore flightless
ringa arm, hand
stick insect
roa length
rohe region
Rongomaraeroa Rongomaraeroa is the name of Te Papa’s whole marae, including entrances and pūwhara (lookout)
roto lakes
Ruapehu Mount Ruapehu
Rūaumoko god of earthquakes
ruru morepork owl, Ninox novaeseelandiae

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T

Kupu Definition Audio file
tāhuhu kōrero history
tai coast
taiaha long wooden weapon
taiao nature
taiāpure coastal reserve
taihoa wait (interjection)
taiko Westland petrel, Procellaria westlandica
Tai Rāwhiti East Coast
takahē flightless bird, Porphyrio hochstetteri
tama son
tamaiti child
Tāmakimakaurau Auckland
Tama-nui-te-rā the sun
tamariki children
tāmoko tattoo, apply traditional tattoo
tāne male
Tāne-mahuta god of the forest
Tangaroa god of the sea
tangata person
tāngata people
Tangata Tiriti Treaty People
tangata whenua the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand
tangi crying, funeral
tangihanga funeral
taniwha supernatural water creature
taonga treasures
taonga pūoro musical instrument
taonga tuku iho heritage
tapu sacred restriction
Tarawera Mount Tarawera
tātarakihi cicada
tatau to count
tautoko exclamation to show agreement
tawaki Fiordland crested penguin, Eudyptes pachyrhynchus
Tāwhirimātea god of the weather
te ao Māori the Māori world
Te Ātiawa an iwi
Te Hāhi Katorika the Catholic Church
Te Hāhi Ringatū the Ringatū Church
Te Hau ki Tūranga the traditional meeting house from Ko Rongowhakaata iwi in Mana Whenua Te Papa
Te Ika a Māui The Fish of Maūi, North Island
teina younger sister (of a female), younger brother (of a male)
tēnā koe hello (to one person)
tēnā kōrua hello (to two people)
tēnā koutou hello (to three or more people)
tēnā koutou katoa hello to you all (to three or more people)
tēnā tātou katoa formal greeting to everybody present
te pītau a manaia a traditional carving pattern
te reo Māori the Māori language
Te Tai Rāwhiti East Coast of the North Island
Te Tai Tokerau Northland
Te Tairāwhiti East Coast of the North Island
Te Tiriti o Waitangi The Treaty of Waitangi
Te Waipounamu The South Island
Te Waka a Māui The Canoe of Māui | South Island
Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington
Te Wiki o te Reo Māori Māori Language Week
tī kōuka cabbage tree, Cordyline australis
tiaki safeguarding
tīeke saddleback, Philesturnus rufusater
tihei mauri ora the sneeze or breath of life
tikanga custom
tiki carved figure
tino rangatiratanga sovereignty
tipuna ancestor
tīpuna ancestors
tītī muttonbirds
titiwai glow-worm
toa warriors
tohunga expert
tohunga whakairo master carver
toke earthworms
toki adze, axe
toki poutangata greenstone adze
tokotoko walking stick
Tongariro Mount Tongariro
toroa albatross
tuakana elder sister (of a female), elder brother (of a male)
tuakoi tonga southern hemisphere
tūere hagfish, Eptatretus cirrhatus
tūī parson bird, Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae
tukutuku ornamental lattice-work
tuna eel, Anguilla australis
tungāne brother (of a female)
tupuna ancestor
tūpuna ancestors
tūranga stand
Tūranganui Gisborne
Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa Gisborne
tūrangawaewae place of belonging, location of identity
tūtae poo

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U

Kupu Definition Audio file
upoko head
upokohue pilot whales, Globicephala melas

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W

Kupu Definition Audio file
waeroa mosquitoes
waewae legs
wahaika hand
wahine woman
wāhine women
wai water
waiata song
waipounamu Aotearoa New Zealand greenstone
wairua spirit
waka ocean-going vessel
waka taua war canoe
wehi awesome
werewere kōkako blue mushroom, Entoloma hochstetteri
wētā large insects of various species found in trees and caves
whaikōrero formal speech
whakairo carving
whakapapa genealogy
whakarau captive
Whakāri White Island (Bay of Plenty)
whakataukī proverb
whānau family
whanaunga relative
whanaungatanga connection, relationship, friends and family
whanga bay
whāngai foster
whāngote mammals
wharawhara coastal astelia, Astelia banksii
whare building, house
whare horoi laundry
whare kai dining hall
whare karakia church
whare tapere house of storytelling
whare tipuna ancestral house
whare tupuna ancestral house
whare whakairo carved meeting house
Wharekauri Rēkohu, Chatham Islands
wharenui large meeting house
whawhai fight
whē praying mantis
whenua land
whetū stars

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