Way of Life

Karawhiua! Give it a Go!

The Māori language - Te Reo Māori - is only spoken in Aotearoa New Zealand and its use in everyday life by locals and visitors is encouraged.

If you know even more words or phrases, you'll have a better understanding of our culture - and Māori people will love you for it!

Find more words and phrases you may come across, what they mean, and where you can go to find out more.

What to say

Introduction (Pepeha)

A traditional Māori introduction of yourself. It tells people who you are, linking you to the land, mountain, river, sea, tribe, subtribe, whakapapa (genealogy) and marae (sacred meeting place). Here is a simple pepeha:

Tihe mauri ora!

Ko (name of your waka) te waka
Ko (name of your mountain) te maunga
Ko (name of your river) te awa
Ko (name of your tribe) te iwi
Ko (name of your sub tribe) te hapū
Ko (your name) ahau

Let there be life!
My canoe is (name of your canoe)
My mountain is (name of mountain)
My river is (name of your tribe)
My tribe is (name of your tribe)
My sub-tribe is (name of your sub-tribe)
I am (your name)

Inu (Drinks)

The word inu is a generic term for a drink and drinking.

  • Huka - sugar
  • Kawhe - coffee
  • Kawhe pango roa - long black
  • Kawhe pango poto - short black
  • Kaputino - cappuccino
  • Kawhe kore kohuka - flat white
  • Kirimi - cream
  • Moka - mocha
  • Miraka - milk
  • Miraka kore kirimi - trim milk
  • Pia - beer
  • Rate - latte
  • Tī - tea
  • Wai - water
  • Wai reka - soft drink
  • Wai ārani - orange juice
  • Waina - wine

Kai (food)

Traditional Māori foods are still enjoyed today and incorporated into dishes that suit modern tastes. The hāngī or earth oven is a traditional cooking method for a feast that is still popular today.

  • Hāngī - food cooked in an earth oven
  • Heihei - chicken
  • Huamata - salad
  • Huarākau - fruit
  • Hua whenua - vegetables
  • Ika - fish
  • Keke - cake
  • Kūmara - sweet potato
  • Mīti - meat
  • Paraoa - bread
  • Pihikete - biscuit
  • Purini - dessert
  • Rīwai - potato

© 2017 NZ Maori Tourism Society