Common Māori Words & Definitions

E noho! – A command to sit.

E tu! – A command to stand. May be used before a karakia is being recited.

Hariru – To shake hands when greeting someone.

Hongi – The pressing of noses when two people greet each other, usually during a powhiri when the hosts are greeting visitors but can be done between friends when one or both are Māori.

Hui a Tau – Annual meeting between Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga and the Waimakariri District Council. Held alternate years at the Council offices in Rangiora and at Tuahiwi Marae, normally in March matters or issues raised are put forward as Ngāi Tūāhuriri’s submission to the Council’s Annual Plan.

Kaikaranga – A woman from the hosts who makes the call of welcome. This is usually done when a powhiri or full welcome is given. On subsequent occasions with the same visitors (Council) a mihi whakatau is the protocol. A karanga is not then required.

Karakia – These are chants, incantations or prayers said at a big gathering or within a family home. They are used to ask for a favourable outcome to various important events such as at meetings (Hui), tangi or the consumption of food.

Karakia mō te kai – Said before the consumption of food. Referred to as Grace in English.

Karanga – The call of welcome given by a woman (Kaikaranga) from the host side when held at Tuahiwi to manuhiri (visitors) approaching the Wharenui. This call would normally be answered by a caller from the manuhiri side. A karanga has been given when welcoming important visitors to the Council.

Kaumātua (to Council) – An elder or person with mana from the Rūnanga, appointed as an advisor to the Council on matters pertaining to the Rūnanga’s relationship with the Council.

Koha – Is an unconditional gift, these days usually of money. The koha, usually in an envelope, is placed in the middle of the floor space between the hosts and visitors by the last speaker on the manuhiri side. It is then retrieved by a speaker from the hosts, who will speak briefly to acknowledge the koha. Several koha may be gifted if there is more than one visitor group present.

Mahaanui II – The name bestowed on the new wharenui at Tuahiwi (Mahaanui II), opened in 2012.

Manawhenua – Described as the political and occupational authority over a particular area, usually defined by natural boundaries. Reference ‘Te Whakatau Kaupapa.’

Manuhiri – Visitors to a Marae.

Marae – Nowadays referring to the buildings and surrounding ground.

Marae atea – The area in front of the Marae.

Noa side – The left hand seating area inside the Wharenui Mahaanui II.

Pāeke – Pattern of speaking where hosts at a gathering speak first followed by the visitors (manuhiri).

Paepae – Usually the front row of seating reserved for visiting speakers from  the visitors or manuhiri.

Papatipi – Williams Dictionary page 261: “Māori land not having a European title.”

Takiwā (Rohe) – Words with similar meaning indicating the area or boundary of a tribe’s land in this case that of Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga.

Tapu side – The right hand side of wharenui Mahaanui II or when meeting at the Council the right hand seating area in the Council Chambers.

Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga – The Council or governing body of Ngāi Tūāhuriri whose marae is located within the settlement at Tuahiwi in North Canterbury.

Tuahiwi – The settlement between Woodend and Rangiora where the Tuahiwi marae is located.

Waharoa – Area where visitors to a marae gather before being called onto the marae.

Waiata – Songs to be sung in support of speakers at a gathering. These can be those composed by the local iwi or that have taken on a national acceptance due their popularity and simplicity.

Whaikorero – A speech of welcome given by a Kaikorero (speaker) initially from the host side which may be followed by other host speakers. The practice is for the manuhiri speakers to follow in a similar vein.

The speeches may make comment on matters to be discussed at the Hui later in the evening. This can arise from either side with a waiata chosen to support the speech.

Wharekai – The area within the Marae complex where food is consumed.

Wharenui – The Marae meeting house where visitors are welcomed and the business of the day is carried out. It is also used for Marae noho which may range from a general stayover (one night stay) to tangihanga.