Aotearoa / New Zealand for beginners

There will be some Maori words I use on this blog that people outside Aotearoa/New Zealand may not understand.  We have three official languages here (New Zealand Sign Language, English, and Maori) and sometimes a Maori word is really the only one that will work in a New Zealand context.

There’s a Maori dictionary here.  Otherwise I’ll define words as I use them on this page.  Please let me know if you think I’ve got something wrong – I’m not fluent in te reo by any means.

  • Maori – indigenous people of New Zealand/Aotearoa
  • Whanau – family – but wider than the English sense, more like extended family.
  • Mana – authority, control, personal power, command, determination, dignity, influence, integrity, prestige.
  • Aotearoa – New Zealand.
  • Te Reo – Maori language
  • Iwi – closest to this is tribe.  Maori who whakapapa back to/descend from a common ancestor.
  • Whakapapa – genealogy, relationships to one another, descent line.
  • Pakeha – non-Maori New Zealander – usually means of European descent – so white New Zealander.  Other non-Maori New Zealanders likely to be referred to as “tauiwi.”
  • Tauiwi – all non-Maori New Zealanders.
  • Kiwi – flightless bird that’s only in New Zealand.  And slang term for anyone from here.
  • Tino rangatiratanga – independence, sovereignty, control over your own destiny.
  • Hui – meeting.
  • Ka Kite – goodbye.
  • Kaitiaki – guardian, keeper.
  • Takutai – coast, coastal, shore.
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3 thoughts on “Aotearoa / New Zealand for beginners

  1. Great idea- fantastic aid for your foreign readers. Of course it may well not be the exclusive domain for those from, to use a delightful West Coast term, ‘away’.

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