Kupu - Glossary

This glossary list was created for our visitors that are new to the Māori language or are from countries outside of New Zealand. For those of you new to our indigenous language, half the battle is in the pronunciation. So here is a table demonstrating the correct sound of each vowel. The five vowel sounds are constant and once you master them you will be able to learn new words. If there is a macron above the vowel this indicates a lengthening in the sound.

On a mobile? You will have to view this table by turning your phone into 'landscape' mode on its side.

Vowel

Pronunciation

Phonetic

A

Is pronounced as in English FAR

AR

E

Is pronounced like the EA in LEATHER

EA

I

Is pronounced as in English ME or HE

EE

O

Is pronounced as in English word AWE

OR

U

Is pronounced like the OO in MOON

OO

Ahi Tupua - Fire demon
Aotearoa - Indigenous name for New Zealand “Land of the long white cloud”
Awa - River
Hapū - Sub-tribe or clan
Hei Tiki - Greenstone pendant
Io Matua Kore - Almighty God
Iwi - Tribe or Nation
Kai - Food
Kaiawhina - Assistant, Helper
Kia Ora - A greeting meaning “may you be well”
Ko - As for, with regards to, used before a verb
Kowhaiwhai - Scroll painting on rafter
Kuia - Elder woman
Manaia - Carved figure depicting a creature
Māori - Indigenous people of Aotearoa
Marae - Focal point of a settlement
Marama - Moon or Month
Mataatua - A canoe that traveled to Aotearoa carrying spiritual gifts
Matau - Hook, as in fishing
Matauranga - Information, knowledge and learning
Mauna - Mountain
Maunga - Mountain
Mauri - Life principle, life essence
Me - And (between nouns)
Mihaia - Messiah
Ngā - The (plural)
Ngāti - People of
O - of, belonging to
Ora - Alive
Papakainga - Home base
Papatuanuku - Mother Earth
Pātaka - Storehouse
Patu - Weapon
Po - Night
Pou - Upright post
Pounamu - New Zealand greenstone
Poupou - Upright post used in meeting house
Ra - Day
Rakau - Wood
Ranginui - Father Sky
Rāua - They, them (two only)
Tanemahuta - Guardian spirit of the forest
Taniwha - Water monster
Taonga - Treasure
Tarakona - Dragon
Tawhirimatea - God of winds and storms
Te - The (singular)
Te Ao - The world
Tihei Mauri Ora - Long live!
Tiki - Pendant depicting a man
Toa - Warrior
Tohunga - Expert
Toi - Art
Tokotoko - Walking stick
Tupuna - Ancestor
Waka - Canoe
Wānanga - Learning
Wehenga - Separation
Whā - Four
Whaikōrero - Oration
Whakairo - Carve
Whakapapa - Genealogy
Whare - House
Wharenui - Meeting House located on Marae

All translations are from The Raupō Dictionary of Modern Māori by P.M Ryan


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