'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Words in Māori I Should Know

Artist's idea of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.
Māori Language Week comes around only once a year.
But I am working on my te reo ('the words') steadily all the time.

The Treaty of Waitangi, complex document tho' it was, and made even more complex by having different versions in Māori and English, was signed in 1840 by a significant number of the then Māori and European officials living at that time in Aotearoa New Zealand.

One of the original Treaties of Waitangi
 (Tiriti O Waitangi)
If you are interested there is more information here about this document that is probably unique in the world, in that it (goes some considerable way to) recognising the rights of the indigenous people of a land at a fairly early stage during a European colonisation.

I think it should at the very least be interpreted as a document of respect for the Māori and this includes the spreading and knowing of the Māori language.

Here, as much for my benefit, so I know where to find it again, as for your interest, dear TLVD reader, is a super site that lists 100 useful Māori words, and includes their pronunciation.

I'm pleased to say there are many I already know.

Hei konā rā!


  1. It is good that you are not the only white New Zealander who shows respect for your indigenous people in this way. I wonder why this respectfulness doesn't appear to have winged its way over The Tasman Sea. Aboriginal people of Australia also deserve reverence instead of scorn.

  2. I couldn't agree more and I think we should go a lot further than just considering it a document of respect. Although I am a fifth generation Pakeha New Zealander I consider Te Reo and many other aspects of Maori culture as Taonga (Treasures) that all Kiwis could benefit from.

    One thing that I would like to see changed is the name of our country. Our land should be called Aotearoa - not named after a province in The Netherlands. I have respect for Abel Tasman and James Cook as early navigators but they didn't discover Aotearoa (It wasn't lost and was actually discovered by Maori nearly 1000 years earlier) and it already had a name when they arrived.
    Personally I would like all place names in this country that already had a Maori name at the time of colonialisation to revert to the original ---- Te Ika a Maui (The fish of Maui) and Te Wai Pounamu (The waters of Greenstone) are far more magnificent and interesting names for the blandness of 'The North Island' and 'The South Island'.
    I am proud of my English, Scottish and Irish heritage but like most Kiwis I now have another one just as rich - available, full of relevant, indigenous meaning and staring me in the face, so I feel we should
    make more room for it within our unique Kiwi culture.

    1. I like that we agree Alden.

  3. I'm surprised how many of the words I've picked up an understanding of over the last 10 years. Perhaps it's the fact that I have lived in a bi-lingual society for the last 40 years.

  4. We've had quite a few of our place names changed back to the original names - example Queen Charlotte Islands in BC are now Haida Gwaii. Some of the native languages are easier than others for us 'European descendants' to wraps our tongues around than others.
    Oh yes, and I was familiar with at least five words. I'd love to get a Christmas card written in Maori!


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