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Study up on some common Māori words

When visiting New Zealand, incorporating some common Māori words into your vocabulary can be a great way to show respect for the local culture and connect with the land and its people.

Maori cultural dancing, New Zealand Campervans
Above:Connecting with the Maori culture on your trip to Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Telegraph wrote an article recently on ‘Five Best ways to connect with Maori in Aotearoa


Here are a few Māori words and phrases you might find useful when travelling to Aotearoa:

  1. Kia ora (key-a or-a): This is a common greeting that means “hello” or “welcome.” You can use it when entering a shop, meeting someone new, or starting a conversation.
  2. Haere mai (hie-ree my): It means “welcome” or “come here.” You might hear this phrase when arriving at a marae (a Māori meeting place) or entering a place of hospitality.
  3. Aroha (a-ro-ha): This word represents love, compassion, and affection. It’s a fundamental value in Māori culture and can be used to express caring or empathy.
  4. Whānau (fa-no): It means “family.” In a broader sense, it refers to a wider community or group of people who share a common bond.
  5. Kai (kai): This word simply means “food.” When visiting local markets or trying traditional Māori cuisine, you can use it to refer to the delicious dishes you’re enjoying.
  6. Hīkoi (hee-koi): It means “walk” or “journey.” New Zealand is famous for its stunning hiking trails, and this word can come in handy when discussing outdoor activities.
  7. Pōwhiri (po-fee-ree): This is a traditional Māori welcoming ceremony. If you have the opportunity to participate in a pōwhiri, it’s a special way to engage with Māori culture and customs.

Remember, using these words shows respect, but pronunciation can be a bit challenging. Don’t worry too much—locals appreciate the effort, and they’ll be more than happy to help you along the way. Embrace the language and immerse yourself in the rich Māori culture during your visit to Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud.