Te Reo Māori glossary

Here are some te reo Māori words you might come across when visiting Wellington and our websites

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori - Māori Language Week

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is an annual celebration held with the aim of inspiring New Zealanders to speak the Māori language proudly. At the same time, The Māori Language Festival of Wellington celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Māori language petition.

The petition was delivered to Parliament by Hana Te Hemara with support from Te Reo Māori Society of Victoria University and Ngā Tamatoa of The University of Auckland on 14 September 1972. It called for the revitalisation of the Māori language.

Te Hui Ahurei is one of the ways that Te Whanganui a Tara is commemorating this important , through a joyful series of arts experiences that champion te reo Māori in the city.

We have chosen to join that kaupapa by continuing to share our content with some direct translations as well as continuing to grow our Te Reo Māori glossary across this website. We hope these simple every day words will help you integrate Te Reo into your every day life.


Read our latest newsletter in English

Anei ngā mea me mōhio koe e whakanuia ai te Wiki o te Reo Māori i Pōneke. Here’s what you need to know to celebrate Māori Language Week in Wellington
Whakakitea atu ana e te kaitoi me te kaiwhakatūtū Tame Iti a I Will Not Speak Māori. Tētahi mahinga tini-taumata, toirau hoki e kōrero ana mō te tukunga i te petihana reo Māori e whawhai ana kia kōrero i te reo i ngā kura. Artist and activist Tame Iti presents I Will Not Speak Māori. The multi-platform, multi-media installation tells the story of delivering the Māori language petition to fight for te reo to be spoken in schools.
Te Whakakiteanga i Te Whanganui-a-Tara TE WHANGANUI-A-TARA EXHIBITION
Ō tatou hītori Our history 
He kāinga rua: Kuikui Lane Feel at home: Kuikui Lane
Hurō Cheers
Tautokona ngā pakihi Māori Support Māori businesses 
Kia pēnei Here's how
Te Hui Ahurei Reo Māori o Te Whanganui-a-Tara The Māori Language Festival of Wellington
Whakanuia i Pōneke Celebrate in Wellington
Kia toa Win
He puiaki ā mātou mō Karaka Café, Ahu Boutique, tā Te Papa Tawhio Mana Māori, me ētahi atu mea hoki! We’re giving away vouchers for Karaka Café, Ahu Boutique, Te Papa’s Mana Māori Tour, and more!


Across WellingtonNZ, these words have been added to support the ongoing education of te reo Māori (the Māori language). This tool was made possible with the help of Te Murumāra Foundation and in particular Te Aka Māori Dictionary for making their resources available. 

We'd also like to thank DNA who helped us develop the tool and Māpuna Consultants for guiding us through the process. 

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

Word Translation
to dance or perform
traditional Māori method of cooking food underground using hot stones
the document room
paddle, oar
Māori tribe
power associated with possession and occupation of tribal lands
life force
welcome speech
Māori village
Māori leaders
potato bread
people of the land
water monster
North Island
South Island
Treaty of Waitangi
Ornamental lattice-work - used particularly between carvings around the walls of meeting houses
sacred sites
treasure box
fishing canoe
dugout canoe without attached sides 
genealogy, descent, family history
ponga houses 
house of canoes

Audio clips and definitions courtesy of Te Aka Maori Dictionary.