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Glossary

The Māori words listed below are sometimes used untranslated in Te Ara’s English-language entries. They often have no precise English equivalents, or may have several meanings. Many are in general usage in New Zealand speech.

ariki

first-born male or female of a family of senior rank

atua

god; supernatural being or creature that reveals the spirit world; Christian God

haka

dance of challenge and welcome; chant accompanying a dance with actions

hāngī

earth oven

hapū

descent group, clan; modern meaning: section of a tribe, secondary tribe; literally: to have conceived

hui

meeting, assembly, coming together

iwi

set of people bound together by descent from a common ancestor or ancestors; literally: bone; modern meaning: tribe

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kāinga

home, place of abode, lodgings, quarters

karakia

incantation, charm, spell, ancient rites, invocation; Christian prayers

kaumātua

elder, senior man or woman, community leader

kawa

tribal protocol followed on a marae; ceremonies of greeting and farewell

kōwhaiwhai

painted scroll ornamentation on traditional houses

mana

authority, power, psychic force, prestige

Māoritanga

Māori culture, including the identity, values, traditions, practices and beliefs of the Māori people

marae

open space or courtyard where people gather, generally in front of a main building or meeting house; forum of social life; modern meaning: the complex of buildings surrounding the courtyard and the courtyard itself

mauri

life principle; material object that is a symbol of the hidden principle protecting vitality

moko

tattoo on face or body

fortified refuge or settlement

Pākehā

non-Māori, usually of British ethnic origin or background

puhi

young woman of rank reserved for arranged marriage; virgin

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rāhui

prohibition; the setting aside of a place or thing for a specified time; permanent reservation of land for a specific purpose

rangatira

well-born, well-bred person; chief, male or female; leader of a tribe

rangatiratanga

domain or autonomous authority of the rangatira, sometimes sovereignty; chiefly qualities of a rangatira

rūnanga

tribal or public assembly, conference, council

tangata

human being, person

tangata whenua

literally: person or people of the land; people belonging to a tribal region; hosts as distinct from visitors

tangihanga

ceremony of mourning

taniwha

guardian, legendary monster

tapu

sacred; under religious restriction

tohunga

priest; expert in traditional lore; person skilled in specific activity; healer

tukutuku

ornamental lattice-work between upright slabs of the walls in a traditional house

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utu

revenge, recompense, reward, price, payment; repayment in goods; retribution in battle

waiata

chant, song, poetry; to chant, to sing

whakapapa

genealogical table; to recite in proper order; literally: to place in layers

whānau

extended family group; to be born; modern meaning: family

whare

house, dwelling

whare wānanga

school of learning; modern meaning: university

whenua

literally: afterbirth; land, ground, earth, a country

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