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Learning Te Reo

I want to learn te reo Māori. Have for a long time, so thought if I learn just two Maori words a day (hoping some days I will learn more), then after 5 months or about 150 days, I will be well on my way with a basic vocabulary of 300 words.


I have recently taken some te reo classes with the lovely Ani on a night course, so now have a few of the basics in sentence structure.


To keep me honest I will post my words of the day or week. It may be place names and knowing their meaning could be a way to learn new words and some NZ history. For example Kaikoura: Kai means food/eat and Koura is crayfish. The literal translation is “to eat crayfish”.


I am getting the translations from a te reo Māori app by AUT university. It also provides the pronounciation.


My first week of words are:


Cape Rēinga / Te Rerenga Wairua

Rerenga: (noun) 1. Place or time of leaping, running, fleeing, withdrawl; 2. voyage, journey; 3. flowing; 4. setting, rising (of the sun); 5. fugitive, survivor.

Wairua: (noun) spirit, soul - spirit of a person which exists beyond death.

Wai: (personal pronoun) who? whom?

(noun) stream, creek, river

Rua: (noun) 1. hole, pit, grave, mine;2. abyss - place where heavenly bodies disappear before reappearing

(numerial) two

Rēinga: (noun) place of leaping, leap, departing place of spirits

Maunganui [Bluff]:

Maunga: Mountain, mount, peak

Nui: (noun) size, quantity, vastness, greatness, importance, abundance

Hukatere [Lodge]

Huka: (noun) snow, foam, froth

Tere: (verb) 1. to be quick, swift, fast; 2. to float, drift, swim, flow, glide

Waipapakauri [Holiday Park]

Wai: (personal pronoun) who? whom?

(noun) stream, creek, river

Papa: (noun) 1. box, chest; 2. buttock, flank; 3. victim, sacrifice

Kauri: The name of the largest trees in NZ

Aupōuri [Forest]: the most northern tribal group of the area north of Kaitaia.

Kaitaia: Literal translation: food in abundance

Kai:Prefix added to verbs to express some kind a action to form nouns denoting a human agent. eg Kaikōrero - speaker, kaimahi - worker.

(noun) food, meal



kōrero: (verb) to tell, say, speak, read, talk

Mahi: (verb) to work, do, perform, make

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