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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/practice-centre-style-and-content-guide/how-we-write/te-reo-terms/
Printed: 19/05/2024
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Last updated: 24/09/2020

Te reo terms

This is a te reo Māori glossary of terms and phrases that practitioners are likely to use and understand in daily interactions with tamariki, whānau, hapū and iwi. These terms are widely used in the guidance and operational policy on the Practice Centre.


We sought the expertise of a registered National Translator and Interpreter on the guidance for the use of te reo Māori on the Practice Centre in all of its working contexts with whānau, hapū and iwi. Although not an exhaustive list, the glossary is a guide, a snapshot of everyday kupu that we use in the work space and in our hapori (community). It is not iwi specific and we are using tohutō (macrons) — some iwi use double vowels instead (so whānau can also be written as whaanau without the tohutō) and other words may be used.

Te reo Māori terms we use

Aotearoa — the Land of the Long White Cloud, the nation of New Zealand

Aroha — love

Atua  Māori gods, personification of the environment

Awa — river

Hāhi — church religion, faith based

Hapori — community

Iwi — tribal nations of Aotearoa

Hapū — sub tribes/nations of Aotearoa

He Ika (a fish) — hui ā-whānau process can be metaphorically viewed like the shape of he ika

  • Te Upoko — it has a head (Tīmatanga — starting-off protocol)
  • Te Tinana — a body (Ngā kaupapa — addressing the purpose of the gathering)
  • Te Hiku (Whakamutunga — concluding protocol)

He kanohi hōmiromiro — an eye for detail, making sense of intel

Hui — a meeting, assembly, group

Hui ā-whānau — the hui ā-whānau is a process that can be facilitated by Oranga Tamariki staff with appropriate cultural expertise and/or whānau. Māori models of practice are used to engage, connect, share information and hear the views of whānau in order to develop a plan for tamariki Māori. Hui ā-whānau is a process for healing, restoring mana and empowering whānau

Ia tamaiti — each child

Ka emiemi ngā manu Tāiko  bringing significant whānau members

Kaiako/Pouako — teacher

Kaimahi Ora — the wellness/wellbeing of staff

Kaihāpai/Kaitautoko — non-Māori practitioner who works effectively with Māori

Kairaranga ā-whānau — a person who weaves together whakapapa and whānau connections

Kaitiaki — guardian

Kaitiaki mokopuna — a child’s guardian

Kaitiakitanga — guardianship

Kanohi ki te Kanohi/Kanohi kitea — literally meeting face to face, physically represented

Kapa haka — action songs

Karakia — prayer

Kaupapa Māori  Māori medium, Māori context

Kuia — female elder, grandmother

Kupu Māori  Māori words

Mahi whakatuwhera — referral and consult

Mana — one’s power, honour, prestige, authority, self-esteem, influence, humility and voice

Mana āhua ake o te mokopuna — characteristics of the mana of a child

Mana motuhake — independence, autonomy, own rights

Mana Tamaiti — a child’s power, honour, prestige, authority, self-esteem, influence, humility and voice

Mana Tāne — the power, honour, prestige, authority, self-esteem, influence, humility and voice (used when referring to a man or men)

Mana Wahine — the power, honour, prestige, authority, self-esteem, influence, humility and voice (used when referring to a woman or women)

Mana Whenua — refers to local traditional tribal nation caretakers of the land

Māori — indigenous people of Aotearoa, also known as Tangata Whenua — people of the land

Marae — enclosed space in the front of a meeting house, traditional/contemporary gathering place where traditional practices are practised

Māreikura (mana wāhine) and Whatukura (mana tāne) — the power, honour, prestige, authority, self-esteem, influence, humility and voice

Maunga — mountain

Mauri — life principle, source of emotions

Moana — sea

Mokopuna ora — the health of the child, a healthy child

Mokopuna — the manifestation of our ancestors, such as children, grandchildren who carry the imprint of our ancestors

Ngā mahi whakatikatika  working to develop solutions

Nohinohi — toddler

Ora — alive, safe and healthy

Oranga — wellbeing relates to a complex set of relationships that contribute to a state of wellbeing, including wairua

Oranga Whānau — healthy family wellbeing, welfare

Pākehā — a New Zealander of Tauiwi European descent

Papakāinga — grouping of homes, family settlement

Pēpi — baby, infant

Rangahau Whakapapa — genealogy research

Rangatahi — a young person or young people

Rangatiratanga — freedom, independence

Roto — lake

Tamaiti — a child

Tamariki — children

Tamariki Māori — children of Māori descent

Tangata Whenua — people of the land indigenous to Aotearoa New Zealand, also known as Māori

Tangi  Māori funeral, or to cry

Taonga — of value, precious

Tauiwi — Treaty partners who have made New Zealand their home

Tauiwi — non-Māori

Te Ahureitanga — uniqueness

Te ao hurihuri — a changing world, this world, these times

Te Mana o te Tamaiti — a child’s rights, the inherent power within the child

Te Pae — the name of the Oranga Tamariki intranet

Te reo Māori — the Māori language

Te Reo Māori me ōna Tikanga Tapu  Māori language and practices

Te tamaiti and tamariki — are used in the Oranga Tamariki practice standards to refer to the child and children

Te Tiriti o Waitangi — the Treaty of Waitangi

Te Toka Tūmoana  (direct translation: the rock used as a marker). In this context it is the name of the Oranga Tamariki indigenous, bicultural, principled, wellbeing practice framework

Te Whare Tapawhā — a model for understanding Māori health/wellbeing (Mason Durie)

  • Te Taha Hinengaro — mental and psychological wellbeing
  • Te Taha Wairua — spiritual and cultural wellbeing
  • Te Taha Whānau — family wellbeing
  • Te Taha Tīnana — physical wellbeing

Tiaki mokopuna — care for children

Tika — correct

Tikanga — correct processes and protocols, right ways of doing things

Tikanga Māori — correct Māori processes and protocols — ways of doing things

Tikanga ā-Iwi — social studies, or tribal practices

Tuituia — integrate (sew). This is the name of the Oranga Tamariki assessment tool

Waiata — song

Wairua — a healthy relationship with te reo, tikanga values, beliefs and practices, faith and spirituality, environment and whānau

Wairuatanga — spirituality

Waitangi — Waitangi is a locality in the Bay of Islands on the North Island of New Zealand

Whakamana te Tamaiti — actively support/promote/advance a child’s power, honour, prestige, authority, self-esteem, influence, humility and voice

Whakamanawa — encourage

Whakapapa — blood lines and genealogical ties to a common ancestor

Whakapono — belief, faith

Whānau — nuclear, extended family and significant others (for example, church, clubs)

Whānau hui — whānau-led process for whānau to discuss issues and seek solutions for the safety, care and wellbeing of their tamariki. Whānau decide the process and tikanga for themselves and will invite who they feel will be useful if necessary

Whānau Māori — Māori families

Whānau ora — the health of the family

Whanaungatanga — purposeful relationships — blood lines and meaningful, relational associations (for example, church, clubs)