kai moana

List of English words of Māori origin

Words of (New Zealand) Māori origin have entered many languages. Many such words have entered New Zealand English and are considered native words. Some of those words have in turn been exported from New Zealand English to other branches of the English language and to other languages.

Flora and fauna

The accepted English common names of a number of species of animal and plant endemic to New Zealand are simply their Māori names or a very close equivalent: kauri: a large conifer in the Araucariaceae kea: the alpine parrot kiwi: the bird, a New Zealander, or sometimes (not in New Zealand) the kiwi fruit mako : the shark considered a magnificent fighter by game-fisherman moa: the extinct giant flightless bird tuatara: rare lizard-like reptile, not closely related to any other species currently alive


Thousands of Māori placenames (or very close equivalents) are now official; These include

Other words and phrases

aroha : love and compassion haka : traditional Māori dance, not always a war-dance, often performed by New Zealand sports teams, both local and international, to 'intimidate' opponents hāngi : traditional feast prepared in earth-oven hikoi : march or walk hui : meeting iwi : tribe kai : meaning "food"; also "kai moana" meaning "sea food" kia kaha : an expression of support, literally "be strong" kia ora : a greeting, literally be healthy koha : a gift or donation mahinga maataitai/mataitai : traditional seafood gathering place mana : very roughly, the regard in which someone is held; respect of their authority; reputation mihi : literally meaning hommage or respect, sometimes used in sense of internet board or forum message moko : facial tattoo : a hill fort Pākehā : New Zealander of non-Māori descent, usually European Papakāinga : Land utilised for housing for an iwi/hapu or whanau group Ngaire : silver fern pounamu : Greenstone puku : tummy tangata whenua : literally people of the land, an alternative name for Māori tangi : funeral and/or wake taonga : sacred treasure or gift tauranga waka : landing places where waka were drawn out of the water waahi tapu : sacred sites waka : canoe whānau: family

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