Te Reo Maori - Word/Phrase/Question of the week

Te Reo Maori - Word/Phrase/Question of the week - has been designed by Matua Brandon Amoamo

TE KUPU O TE WIKI / The Word of the Week 2 - Term 2

Huarere (Who-ah-reh-reh). Huarere is the Māori kupu (word) for ‘weather’. The term is made of two base words, hua: meaning - fruit, outcome, gain, outline, product…, and: rere – meaning – ‘on the fly’ or ‘coming down’. These two base words combine to mean ‘weather’, although variant terms include: ‘tohu huarere’ (weather signs or forecast), ‘matapae huarere’ (becoming face of the weather), ‘te huarere’ (the weather) or ‘ngā huarere’ (the weather conditions). Other terms include, ‘ngā tohu o Tawhirimātea’ (the omens of Tawhiri-God-of-the-Atmosphere) and ‘te āhua o te rangi’ (the appearance of the heavens).

TE RERENGA O TE WIKI / The Phrase of the Week

‘Kua huri…’ (Cooh-ah-hoo-ree…) means ‘…has turned...’. E.g. Kua huri makariri ngā huarere – The weather has turned cold…Kua huri hōhā te kaiako – The teacher has become annoyed…Kua huri pāua te tamaiti – The kid has gone all clingy like a pāua…Kua huri Hulk a Māmā – Mum’s gone all Hulk!

TE PĀTAI O TE WIKI / The Question of the Week

Wāpu (Waah-pooh) is a Māori transliteration for ‘wharf’ or ‘wharfie’ (a ‘watersider‘ or dock worker). On the 27th of February 1951 New Zealand’s wharfie’s went on strike for higher pay. The strike, which included other supporting unions, lasted 151 days and involved 22000 workers, including freezing workers, hydro-electric workers, miners and drivers.

For the duration of the dispute, it became illegal to share what with “wāpu” families? (Answer: Kai!)


TE KUPU O TE WIKI / The Word of the Week 1 - Term 2

Ara (Ah-rah). Ara is a Māori kupu (word) for ‘path, way, avenue, means or strategy’. During last year’s Tuia celebration at Wharekaho, the crew of the Tahitian va’a (waka) ‘Fa’afaite’ wore t-shirts with the phrase ‘Te Ara o Te Pa’u’ – ‘The Way of The Drum.’ Tahiti’s islands are renowned for their culture of drumming and dance.

TE RERENGA O TE WIKI / The Phrase of the Week

‘Tangaroa ara rau…’ (Tah-ngah-roh-ah…ah-rah…rah-oo) means ‘…Tangaroa of many paths...’ The phrase can be used to describe elusive things, people or tactics. It is often quoted by orators in the following whakataukī (fah-kah-toe-key) or proverb:

‘Ko Tangaroa ara rau, kua kaheko te tuna i roto i aku ringa.’

Tangaroa’s children find paths where there were none, hence, the eel has slipped through my hands.

TE PĀTAI O TE WIKI / The Question of the Week

A New Zealand toa-taiao (eco-warrior) passed away on the 16th of January aged 81. He was responsible for saving the punua (pooh-nooh-ah: ‘babies –young – elvers’) of over 30 million tuna heke – long-finned eels. He transported them passed dams in the Bay of Plenty, allowing them to complete their migratory life cycle. He was known as Mr Tuna, or ‘The Eel Man.’ He credited his love of eels to a holiday visit to Thames as child, where locals fished masses of young tuna with baskets on ropes. He was 81 years old.

What was his name? Answer: Bill Kerrison, NZOM - Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

TE KUPU O TE WIKI / The Word of the Week - Term One Holidays - Week Two

Whakataukī (Fah-kah-toe-key) is the kupu Māori (Māori word) for ‘proverb’ – a saying which speaks volumes, or reveals a deep insight upon a topic of discussion. A ‘whakataukī’ is a pithy saying whose origin is unknown, whereas the originator of a ‘whakatauākī’ (fah-kah-toe-aah-key) is known.

TE RERENGA O TE WIKI / The Phrase of the Week

‘He iti te kupu, he nui te kōrero…’ literally means, ‘Few words, much said.’ It is used in praise of a someone who gets to the point of a discussion quickly, using few words. Frequently, this is accomplished by the use of whakataukī (unattributed proverbs), whakatauākī (attributed proverbs), pepeha (proverbs associated with personal identity) and kīwaha (colloquial expressions).

TE PĀTAI O TE WIKI / The Question of the Week

Many old Kiwi kīwaha (colloquialisms) have gone out of fashion, even though their meaning is evident if you think about them. Common examples include: “bun fight” for a picnic, “taiho” (tie-hoe) for ‘taihoa’ –the Māori word for ‘one minute please’ or ‘hang on’ and “crook (as a dog’s hind leg)” – for feeling ill.

What does the Māori phrase ‘poho kererū’ (pigeon chested) mean?

Answer: To be proud (e.g. Me poho kererū tātou mō ngā mahi o te rā – We should all be proud of what we’ve accomplished today).


TE KUPU O TE WIKI / The Word of the Week - Term One Holidays - Week One

Whānau (Faar-nah-ooh) is the kupu Māori (Māori word) for ‘birth’ – which we also use to describe the extended family. The idea is that having a ‘whānau’ is as important as being born. Whānau were the people who welcomed a child into the world at birth. They are also the people who began shaping the child-being, sometimes from the point of conception - with prayer (karakia), learning songs (oriori) and support for the mother, by way of labour, company and economic assistance. Whāngai (faar-ngeye) is a closely related term. Literally, it means to feed or nurture, and was used in a similar way to ‘foster-child’. Like the Highland Scots’ tradition of ‘foster-swopping’ children with other related families, it kept relatives ‘tight’ and mindful of their obligations to their kith and kin. Often, whāngai children were favoured by mātua whāngai (foster-parents) over their own issue. Grandparents would often raise a grandchild as a whānagi, to become a repository of whānau, hapū (clan) and iwi (tribal) lore.

TE RERENGA O TE WIKI / The Phrase of the Week

‘He whānau, he pā harakeke…’ literally means, ‘An extended family is like a stand of flax.’ This whakataukī (proverb) refers to the way a whānau should function. If the youngest, most vulnerable leaf is plucked, the whole plant will quickly die. Thus, the role of tuakana (elder siblings/cousins) and pakeke (adults) is to put their whole being ‘on the line’ for the weakest in the family. This principle forms the platform upon which all flax weaving lore is based. This principle was observed and commented on by explorers and missionaries through-out Polynesia. Some thought the kindness, concern and ‘hands-on’ fathering of adult males ‘unmanly’ by their own standards.

TE PĀTAI O TE WIKI / The Question of the Week

‘Whānau’ - literally means ‘to give birth’. Hapū (hah-poooh), the word for clan – literally means ‘to be pregnant’. The use of these terms in kinship shows how important and basic they were to our tūpuna’s understanding of social relationships and identity…a person never born is not a person…a person never carried in the womb is also a non-entity also. There is an emphasis on the importance of belonging.

What does the kupu ‘iwi’ mean?

Answer: It means ‘bones’ or ‘bone’. (Older Māori will often say in English that they are ‘going to see their bones (relatives)’. There is the intimation here that a person without an iwi (tribe) is like a body without a skeleton. There is also the idea that the bones you lay in the land, bind you to that land (tribal territory). At birth, there is a custom of interning the placenta of a child in or on the land to secure its connection to Earth Mother and the spiritual, intellectual and physical sustenance she provides. The kupu Māori for land is ‘whenua’. The kupu Māori for placenta is ‘whenua’.