Māori language

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Te Reo
Native to New Zealand
Region Polynesia
Ethnicity Māori people
Native speakers
30,000 (2001)[1]
150,000 conversant (2013 census)[2]
Latin (Māori alphabet)
Māori Braille
Official status
Official language in
New Zealand
Regulated by Māori Language Commission
Language codes
ISO 639-1 mi
ISO 639-2 mao (B)
mri (T)
ISO 639-3 mri
Glottolog maor1246[3]
Idioma maorí.PNG
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Maori or Māori (/ˈmaʊəri/; Māori pronunciation: [ˈmaː.ɔ.ɾi]) is an Eastern Polynesian language spoken by the Māori people, the indigenous population of New Zealand. Since 1987, it has been one of New Zealand's official languages. It is closely related to Cook Islands Māori, Tuamotuan, and Tahitian.

According to a 2001 survey on the health of the Māori language, the number of very fluent adult speakers was about 9% of the Māori population, or 30,000 adults.[1] A national census undertaken in 2006 says that about 4% of the New Zealand population,[4] or 23.7% of the Maori population could hold a conversation in Maori about everyday things.[5]


The English word comes from the Maori language, where it is spelled "Māori". In New Zealand the Maori language is commonly referred to as Te Reo [tɛ ˈɾɛ.ɔ] "the language", short for te reo Māori.

The spelling "Maori" (without macron) is standard in English outside New Zealand in both general[6] and linguistic[7] usage. The Maori-language spelling "Māori" (with macron) has become common in New Zealand English in recent years, particularly in Maori-specific cultural contexts,[8][9] although the traditional English spelling is still prevalent in general media and government use.[10][11]

Preferred and alternate pronunciations in English vary by dictionary, with /ˈmaʊəri/ being most frequent today, and /mɑːˈɒri/, /ˈmɔːri/, and /ˈmɑːri/ also given.[12] Spelling pronunciations as /mˈɔəri/ are also encountered in popular speech[13][14] in the United States particularly, but are considered incorrect.

Official status

New Zealand has three official languages – English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.[15] Māori gained this status with the passing of the Māori Language Act in 1987.[16] Most government departments and agencies have bilingual names; for example, the Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua, and places such as local government offices and public libraries display bilingual signs and use bilingual stationery. New Zealand Post recognises Māori place-names in postal addresses. Dealings with government agencies may be conducted in Māori, but in practice, this almost always requires interpreters, restricting its everyday use to the limited geographical areas of high Māori fluency, and to more formal occasions, such as during public consultation.

An interpreter is on hand at sessions of Parliament, in case a Member wishes to speak in Māori. In 2009, Opposition parties held a filibuster against a local government bill, and those who could recorded their voice votes in Māori, all faithfully interpreted.[17]

A 1994 ruling by the Privy Council[18] in the United Kingdom held the New Zealand Government responsible under the Treaty of Waitangi (1840) for the preservation of the language. Accordingly, since March 2004, the state has funded Māori Television, broadcast partly in Māori. On 28 March 2008, Māori Television launched its second channel, Te Reo, broadcast entirely in the Māori language, with no advertising or subtitles. The first Māori TV channel, Aotearoa Television Network (ATN) was available to viewers in the Auckland region from 1996, but lasted for one year only.[19]

In 2008, Land Information New Zealand published the first list of official place names with macrons, which indicate long vowels. Previous place name lists were derived from systems (usually mapping and GIS systems) that could not handle macrons.[20]


A 1930 edition of "First Lessons in Maori" by William Leonard Williams, Bishop of Waiapu from 1895 to 1909. It was first published in 1862.

According to legend, Māori came to New Zealand from Hawaiiki. Current anthropological thinking places their origin in tropical eastern Polynesia, mostly likely from the Southern Cook or Society Islands region, and that they arrived by deliberate voyages in seagoing canoes[21] – possibly double-hulled and probably sail-rigged. These settlers probably arrived by about AD 1280 (see Māori origins). Their language and its dialects developed in isolation until the 19th century.

Since about 1800, the Māori language has had a tumultuous history. It started this period as the predominant language of New Zealand. In the 1860s, it became a minority language in the shadow of the English spoken by many settlers, missionaries, gold seekers, and traders. In the late 19th century, the colonial governments of New Zealand and its provinces introduced an English-style school system for all New Zealanders. From the 1880s, on the insistence of Maori MPs,[citation needed] the government forbade the use of the Māori language in schools. Increasing numbers of Māori people learned English. <templatestyles src="Module:Hatnote/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Until the Second World War (1939–1945), most Māori people spoke Māori as their first language. Worship took place in Māori; it functioned as the language of Māori homes; Māori politicians conducted political meetings in Māori; and some literature and many newspapers appeared in Māori.

Before 1880, some Māori parliamentarians suffered disadvantages because Parliament's proceedings took place in English. However, by 1900, all Maori members of parliament, such as Ngata, were university graduates who spoke fluent English. From this period, the number of speakers of Māori began to decline rapidly. By the 1980s, fewer than 20% of the Maori spoke the language well enough to be classed as native speakers. Even many of those people no longer spoke Māori in the home. As a result, many Māori children failed to learn their ancestral language, and generations of non-Māori-speaking Māori emerged.[citation needed]

By the 1980s, Māori leaders began to recognise the dangers of the loss of their language, and initiated Māori-language recovery-programs such as the Kōhanga Reo movement, which from 1982 immersed infants in Māori from infancy to school age. There followed in 1985 the founding of the first Kura Kaupapa Māori (Years 1 to 8 Māori-medium education programme) and later the first Wharekura (Years 9 to 13 Māori-medium education programme). Although "there was a true revival of te reo in the 1980s and early to-mid-1990s .... spurred on by the realisation of how few speakers were left, and by the relative abundance of older fluent speakers in both urban neighbourhoods and rural communities", the language has been in a "renewed decline" since (p. 439).[22] The decline is believed "to have several underlying causes".[23] These include:

  • the ongoing loss of older native speakers who have spearheaded the revival movement;
  • complacency brought about by the very existence of the institutions which drove the revival;
  • concerns about quality, with the supply of good teachers never matching demand (even while that demand has been shrinking);
  • excessive regulation and centralised control, which has alienated some of those involved in the movement; and
  • an ongoing lack of educational resources needed to teach the full curriculum in te reo Māori.".[23]

Based on the principles of partnership, Māori-speaking government, general revitalisation and dialectal protective policy, and adequate resourcing, the Waitangi Tribunal has recommended "four fundamental changes":[24]

  1. Te Taura Whiri should become the lead Māori language sector agency. This will address the problems caused by the lack of ownership and leadership identified by the OAG.
  2. Te Taura Whiri should function as a Crown–Māori partnership through the equal appointment of Crown and Māori appointees to its board. This reflects our concern that te reo revival will not work if responsibility for setting the direction is not shared with Māori.
  3. Te Taura Whiri will also need increased powers. This will ensure that public bodies are compelled to contribute to te reo's revival and that key agencies are held properly accountable for the strategies they adopt. For instance, targets for the training of te reo teachers must be met, education curricula involving te reo must be approved, and public bodies in districts with a sufficient number and/or proportion of te reo speakers and schools with a certain proportion of Māori students must submit Māori language plans for approval.
  4. These regional public bodies and schools must also consult iwi in the preparation of their plans. In this way, iwi will come to have a central role in the revitalisation of te reo in their own areas. This should encourage efforts to promote the language at the grassroots.[25]

Linguistic classification

The major subgroups of East Polynesian

Comparative linguists classify Māori as a Polynesian language; specifically as an Eastern Polynesian language belonging to the Tahitic subgroup, which includes Rarotongan, spoken in the southern Cook Islands, and Tahitian, spoken in Tahiti and the Society Islands. Other major Eastern Polynesian languages include Hawaiian, Marquesan (languages in the Marquesic subgroup), and the Rapa Nui language of Easter Island.[26][27][28] While the preceding are all distinct languages, they remain similar enough that Tupaia, a Tahitian travelling with Captain James Cook in 1769–1770, communicated effectively with Māori.[29] Speakers of modern Māori generally report that they find the languages of the Cook Islands, including Rarotongan, the easiest other Polynesian languages to understand and converse in. See also Austronesian languages.

Geographic distribution

Speakers of Māori according to the 2013 census.
  Less than 5%
  More than 5%
  More than 10%
  More than 20%
  More than 30%
  More than 40%
  More than 50%

Nearly all speakers are ethnic Māori resident in New Zealand. Estimates of the number of speakers vary: the 1996 census reported 160,000,[5] while other estimates have reported as few as 10,000 fluent adult speakers in 1995 according to the Maori Language Commission.[30] According to the 2006 census, 131,613 Māori (23.7%) "could [at least] hold a conversation about everyday things in te reo Māori".[5] In the same census, Māori speakers were 4.2% of the New Zealand population.

The level of competence of self-professed Māori speakers varies from minimal to total. Statistics have not been gathered for the prevalence of different levels of competence. Only a minority of self-professed speakers use Māori as their main language in the home. The rest use only a few words or phrases (passive bilingualism).

Māori still is a community language in some predominantly-Māori settlements in the Northland, Urewera and East Cape areas. Kohanga reo Māori-immersion kindergartens throughout New Zealand use Māori exclusively. Increasing numbers of Māori raise their children bilingually.[citation needed]

Urbanisation after the Second World War led to widespread language shift from Māori predominance (with Māori the primary language of the rural whānau) to English predominance (English serving as the primary language in the Pākehā cities). Therefore, Māori-speakers almost always communicate bilingually, with New Zealand English as either their first or second language.

The percentage prevalence of the Māori language in the Māori diaspora is far lower than in New Zealand. Census data from Australia show it as the home language of 5,504 people in 2001, or 7.5% of the Māori community in Australia. This represents an increase of 32.5% since 1996.[31]


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The modern Māori alphabet has 20 letters, two of which are digraphs: A Ā E Ē H I Ī K M N O Ō P R T U Ū W NG and WH.[32] Attempts to write Māori words using the Latin script began with Captain James Cook and other early explorers, with varying degrees of success. Consonants seem to have caused the most difficulty, but medial and final vowels are often missing in early sources. Anne Salmond[33] records aghee for aki (In the year 1773, from the North Island East Coast, p. 98), Toogee and E tanga roak for Tuki and Tangaroa (1793, Northland, p216), Kokramea, Kakramea for Kakaramea (1801, Hauraki, p261), toges for toki(s), Wannugu for Uenuku and gumera for kumara (1801, Hauraki, p261, p266, p269), Weygate for Waikato (1801, Hauraki, p277), Bunga Bunga for pungapunga, tubua for tupua and gure for kurī (1801, Hauraki, p279), as well as Tabooha for Te Puhi (1823, Northern Northland, p385).

From 1814, missionaries tried to define the sounds of the language. Thomas Kendall published a book in 1815 entitled A korao no New Zealand, which in modern orthography and usage would be He Kōrero nō Aotearoa. Professor Samuel Lee, working with chief Hongi Hika[34] and Hongi's junior relative Waikato at Cambridge University, established a definitive orthography based on Northern usage in 1820. Professor Lee's orthography continues in use, with only two major changes: the addition of wh to distinguish the voiceless bilabial fricative phoneme from the labio-velar phoneme /w/; and the consistent marking of long vowels. The macron has become the generally accepted device for marking long vowels (hāngi), but double vowel letters have also been used (haangi).

The Māori embraced literacy enthusiastically, and missionaries reported in the 1820s that Māori all over the country taught each other to read and write, using sometimes quite innovative materials in the absence of paper, such as leaves and charcoal, carved wood, and hides.

Long vowels

The alphabet devised at Cambridge University was deficient in that it did not mark vowel length. The following examples show that vowel length is phonemic in Māori:

  • ata 'morning', āta 'carefully'
  • mana 'prestige', māna 'for him/her'
  • manu 'bird', mānu 'to float'
  • o 'of', ō 'provisions for a journey'
  • wahine 'woman', wāhine 'women'

Māori devised ways to mark vowel-length, sporadically at first. Occasional and inconsistent vowel-length markings occur in 19th-century manuscripts and newspapers written by Māori, including macron-like diacritics and the doubling of letters. Māori writer Hare Hongi (Henry Stowell) used macrons in his Maori-English Tutor and Vade Mecum of 1911,[35] as does Sir Apirana Ngata, inconsistently, in his Maori Grammar and Conversation (7th printing 1953). Once the Māori language started to be taught in universities in the 1960s, vowel-length marking was made systematic. At Auckland University, Professor Bruce Biggs (of Ngāti Maniapoto descent) promoted the use of double vowels (thus Maaori), and this became the standard at Auckland until Biggs died in 2000. The Māori Language Commission, set up by the Māori Language Act 1987 to act as the authority for Māori spelling and orthography, favours the use of macrons, which are now the established means of indicating long vowels.[36][37] Occasionally, diaeresis are seen instead of macrons (e.g. Mäori) due to technical limitations producing letters with macrons on typewriters and older computers.


Māori has five phonemically distinct vowel articulations and ten consonant phonemes.


Although it is commonly claimed that vowel realisations (pronunciations) in Māori show little variation, linguistic research has shown this not to be the case.[38]

Vowel length is phonemic; but four of the five long vowels occur in only a handful of word roots, the exception being /ā/.[39] As noted above, it has recently become standard in Māori spelling to indicate a long vowel by a macron. For older speakers, long vowels tend to be more peripheral and short vowels more centralised, especially with the low vowel, which is long [aː] but short [ɐ]. For younger speakers, they are both [a]. For older speakers, /u/ is only fronted after /t/; elsewhere it is [u]. For younger speakers, it is fronted [ʉ] everywhere, as with the corresponding phoneme in New Zealand English.

As in many other Polynesian languages, diphthongs in Māori vary only slightly from sequences of adjacent vowels, except that they belong to the same syllable, and all or nearly all sequences of nonidentical vowels are possible. All sequences of nonidentical short vowels occur and are phonemically distinct.[40] With younger speakers, /ai, au/ start with a higher vowel than the [a] of /ae, ao/.

The following table shows the five vowel phonemes and the allophones for some of them according to Bauer 1997. Some of these phonemes occupy large spaces in the anatomical vowel triangle (actually a trapezoid) of tongue positions. For example, /u/ is sometimes realised (pronounced) as IPA [ʉ].

Front Central Back
Close i u [ʉ]
Open-Mid e [ɛ] o [ɔ]
Open a [a], [ɒ][41]

Diphthongs are /a/ or /o/ followed by a mid or high vowel: /ae, ai, ao, au, oi, oe, ou/.


The consonant phonemes of Māori are listed in the following table. Seven of the ten Māori consonant letters have the same pronunciation as they do in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For those that do not, the IPA phonetic transcription is included, enclosed in square brackets per IPA convention.

Bilabial Alveolar Velar Glottal
Unaspirated plosive p t k
Voiceless fricative wh
[f, ɸ]
Nasal m n ng
Tap r
Approximant w

The pronunciation of /wh/ is extremely variable,[42] but its most common pronunciation (its canonical allophone) is the labiodental fricative, IPA [f] (as found in English). Another allophone is the bilabial fricative, IPA [ɸ], which is usually supposed to be the sole pre-European pronunciation, although in fact linguists are not sure of the truth of this supposition.

Because English stops /p, t, k/ primarily have aspiration, speakers of English often hear the Māori nonaspirated stops as English /b, d, g/. However, younger Māori speakers tend to aspirate /p, t, k/ as in English. English speakers also tend to hear Māori /r/ as English /l/. These ways of hearing have given rise to place-name spellings which are incorrect in Māori, like Tolaga Bay in the North Island and Otago and Waihola in the South Island.

/ng/ can come at the beginning of a word, like sing-along without the "si", which is difficult for English speakers outside of New Zealand to manage.

/h/ is pronounced as a glottal stop, [ʔ], and /wh/ as [ʔw], in some western areas of North Island.

/r/ is typically a flap, especially before /a/. However, elsewhere it is sometimes trilled.


Syllables in Māori have one of the following forms: V, VV, CV, CVV. This set of four can be summarised by the notation, (C)V(V), in which the segments in parentheses may or may not be present. A syllable cannot begin with two consonant sounds (the digraphs ng and wh represent single consonant sounds), and cannot end in a consonant, although some speakers may occasionally devoice a final vowel. All possible CV combinations are grammatical, though wo, who, wu, and whu occur only in a few loanwords from English such as wuru, "wool" and whutuporo, "football".[43]

As in many other Polynesian languages, e.g., Hawaiian, the rendering of loanwords from English includes representing every English consonant of the loanword (using the native consonant inventory; English has 24 consonants to 10 for Māori) and breaking up consonant clusters. For example, "Presbyterian" has been borrowed as Perehipeteriana; no consonant position in the loanword has been deleted, but /s/ and /b/ have been replaced with /h/ and /p/, respectively.

Stress is typically within the last four vowels of a word, with long vowels and diphthongs counting double. That is, on the last four moras. However, stressed moras are longer than unstressed moras, so the word does not have the precision in Māori that it does in some other languages. It falls preferentially on the first long vowel, on the first diphthong if there is no long vowel (though for some speakers never a final diphthong), and on the first syllable otherwise. Compound words (such as names) may have a stressed syllable in each component word. In long sentences, the final syllable before a pause may have a stress in preference to the normal stressed syllable.


Biggs proposed that historically there were two major dialect groups, North Island and South Island, and that South Island Māori is extinct.[44] Biggs has analysed North Island Māori as comprising a western group and an eastern group with the boundary between them running pretty much along the island's north–south axis.[45]

Within these broad divisions regional variations occur, and individual regions show tribal variations. The major differences occur in the pronunciation of words, variation of vocabulary, and idiom. A fluent speaker of Māori has no problem understanding other dialects.

There is no significant variation in grammar between dialects. "Most of the tribal variation in grammar is a matter of preferences: speakers of one area might prefer one grammatical form to another, but are likely on occasion to use the non-preferred form, and at least to recognise and understand it."[46] Vocabulary and pronunciation vary to a greater extent, but this does not pose barriers to communication.

North Island dialects

In the southwest of the island, in the Whanganui and Taranaki regions, the phoneme /h/ is a glottal stop and the phoneme /wh/ is [ʔw]. This difference has been the subject of considerable debate during the 1990s and 2000s over the then-proposed change of the name of the city Wanganui to Whanganui.

In Tūhoe and the Eastern Bay of Plenty (northeastern North Island) ng has merged with n. In parts of the Far North, wh has merged with w.

South Island dialects

In the extinct South Island dialects, ng merged with k in many regions. Thus Kāi Tahu and Ngāi Tahu are variations in the name of the same iwi (the latter form is the one used in acts of Parliament). Since 2000, the government has altered the official names of several southern place names to the southern dialect forms by replacing ng with k. New Zealand's highest mountain, known for centuries as Aoraki in southern Māori dialects that merge ng with k, and as Aorangi by other Māori, was later named "Mount Cook", in honour of Captain Cook. Now its sole official name is Aoraki/Mount Cook, which favours the local dialect form. Similarly, the Māori name for Stewart Island, Rakiura, is cognate with the name of the Canterbury town of Rangiora. Likewise, Dunedin's main research library, the Hocken Library, has the name Te Uare Taoka o Hākena rather than the northern (standard) Te Whare Taonga o Hākena.[47] Goodall & Griffiths say there is also a voicing of k to g – this is why the region of Otago (southern dialect) and the settlement it is named after – Otakou (standard Māori) – vary in spelling (the pronunciation of the latter having changed over time to accommodate the northern spelling).[48]

The standard Māori r is also found occasionally changed to an l in these southern dialects and the wh to w. These changes are most commonly found in place names, such as Lake Waihola[49] and the nearby coastal settlement of Wangaloa (which would, in standard Māori, be rendered Whangaroa), and Little Akaloa, on Banks Peninsula. M. Goodall & Griffiths claim that final vowels are given a centralised pronunciation as schwa or that they are elided (pronounced indistinctly or not at all), resulting in such seemingly-bastardised place names as The Kilmog, which in standard Māori would have been rendered Kirimoko, but which in southern dialect would have been pronounced very much as the current name suggests.[50] This same elision is found in numerous other southern placenames, such as the two small settlements called The Kaik (from the term for a fishing village, kainga in standard Māori), near Palmerston and Akaroa, and the early spelling of Lake Wakatipu as Wagadib. In standard Māori, Wakatipu would have been rendered Whakatipua, showing further the elision of a final vowel.

Despite being officially regarded as extinct,[51] many government and educational agencies in Otago and Southland encourage the use of the dialect in signage[52] and official documentation.[53]

Grammar and syntax


Biggs (1998) developed an analysis that the basic unit of Māori speech is the phrase, rather than the word. The lexical word forms the "base" of the phrase. "Nouns" include those bases that can take a definite article, but cannot occur as the nucleus of a verbal phrase; for example: ika (fish) or rākau (tree). Plurality is marked by various means, including the definite article (singular te, plural ngā), deictic particles "tērā rākau" (that tree), "ērā rākau" (those trees), possessives "taku whare" (my house), "aku whare" (my houses). Some nouns lengthen a vowel in the plural, such as wahine (woman); wāhine (women).

Statives serve as bases usable as verbs but not available for passive use, such as ora, alive, tika, correct. Grammars generally refer to them as "stative verbs". When used in sentences, statives require different syntax than other verb-like bases.

Locative bases can follow the locative particle ki (to, towards) directly, such as runga, above, waho, outside, and placenames (ki Tamaki, to Auckland).

Personal bases take the personal article a after ki, such as names of people (ki a Hohepa, to Joseph), personified houses, personal pronouns, wai? who? and Mea, so-and-so.


Like all Polynesian languages, Māori has a rich array of particles. These include verbal particles, pronouns, locative particles, definitives and possessives.

Verbal particles indicate aspectual properties of the verb they relate to. They include ka (inceptive), i (past), kua (perfect), kia (desiderative), me (prescriptive), e (non-past), kei (warning, "lest"), ina or ana (punctative-conditional, "if and when"), and e … ana (imperfect).

Pronouns have singular, dual and plural number. Different first-person forms in the dual and in the plural express groups either inclusive or exclusive of the listener.

Locative particles refer to position in time and/or space, and include ki (towards), kei (at), i (past position), and hei (future position).

Possessives fall into one of two classes marked by a and o, depending on the dominant versus subordinate relationship between possessor and possessed, so ngā tamariki a te matua, the children of the parent, but te matua o ngā tamariki, the parent of the children.

Definitives include the articles te (singular) and ngā (plural) and the possessives and . These also combine with the pronouns. Demonstratives have a deictic function, and include tēnei, this (near me), tēnā, that (near you), tērā, that (far from us both), and taua, the aforementioned. Other definitives include tēhea? (which?), and tētahi, (a certain). Definitives that begin with t form the plural by dropping the t: tēnei (this), ēnei (these).

Bases as qualifiers

In general, bases used as qualifiers follow the base they qualify, e.g. "matua wahine" (mother, female elder) from "matua" (parent, elder) "wahine" (woman).

Personal pronouns

Like other Polynesian languages, Māori has three numbers for pronouns and possessives: singular, dual and plural. For example: ia (he/she), rāua (they two), rātou (they, three or more). The dual and plural suffixes are modern reflexes of historical words rua and toru. Māori pronouns and possessives further distinguish exclusive "we" from inclusive "we", second and third. It has the plural pronouns: mātou (we, exc), tātou (we, inc), koutou (you), rātou (they). The language features the dual pronouns: māua (we two, exc), tāua (we two, inc), kōrua (you two), rāua (they two). The difference between exclusive and inclusive lies in the treatment of the person addressed. Mātou refers to the speaker and others but not the person or persons spoken to (i.e., "I and some others, but not you"), while tātou refers to the speaker, the person or persons spoken to, and everyone else (i.e., "you and I and others"). Examples:

  • Tēnā koe: hello (to one person)
  • Tēnā kōrua: hello (to two people)
  • Tēnā koutou: hello (to more than two people)


From missionary times, Māori used transliterations of English names for days of the week and for months of the year. Since about 1990 the Māori Language Commission / Te Taura Whiri o te Reo Māori has promoted new ("traditional") sets. Its days of the week have no pre-European equivalent but reflect the pagan origins of the English names (for example, Hina = moon). The commission based the months of the year on one of the traditional tribal lunar calendars.

Day Transliteration Official
Monday Mane Rāhina
Tuesday Tūrei Rātū
Wednesday Wenerei Rāapa
Thursday Tāite Rāpare
Friday Paraire Rāmere
Saturday Rāhoroi/Hāterei Rāhoroi
Sunday Rātapu/Wiki Rātapu
Month Transliteration Official
January Hānuere Kohi-tātea
February Pēpuere Hui-tanguru
March Māehe Poutū-te-rangi
April Āperira Paenga-whāwhā
May Mei Haratua
June Hune Pipiri
July Hūrae Hōngongoi
August Ākuhata Here-turi-kōkā
September Hepetema Mahuru
October Oketopa Whiringa-ā-nuku
November Noema Whiringa-ā-rangi
December Tīhema Hakihea

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  2. Māori language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
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  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. (revised 2007)
  6. Encyclopædia Britannica http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/363498/Maori-language
  7. Ethnologue http://www.ethnologue.com/language/mri
  8. Māori Language Act 1987: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1987/0176/latest/DLM124116.html
  9. Te Ara museum: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/maori-new-zealanders
  10. New Zealand Herald newspaper: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/maori/search/results.cfm?kw1=maori&kw2=&st=gsa
  11. Government of New Zealand Web site: http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Resource-material-Effectiveness-For-Maori-Index
  12. The New Oxford American Dictionary (Third Edition); Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition; Dictionary.com
  13. A blog mocking a pronunciation as "May-oh-ree" used in the television show "America's Next Top Model": http://www.isaaclikes.com/2010/04/1211-eight-things-you-didnt-know-about.html
  14. A user-created reference site giving pronunciation as "May-oar-ee": http://answerparty.com/question/answer/how-do-you-pronounce-maori-is-it-may-or-ee-of-mao-ree-ualea-iacta-est
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  18. New Zealand Maori Council v Attorney-General [1994] 1 NZLR 513
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  21. K. R. Howe. 'Ideas of Māori origins – 1920s–2000: new understanding', Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 4-Mar-09. URL: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/ideas-of-maori-origins/5
  22. Waitangi Tribunal. (2011). Ko Aotearoa tēnei: A report into claims concerning New Zealand law and policy affecting Māori culture and identity – Te taumata tuarua. Wellington, New Zealand: Author. Retrieved from [1]
  23. 23.0 23.1 Waitangi Tribunal (2011, p. 440).
  24. Waitangi Tribunal (2011, p. 470).
  25. Waitangi Tribunal (2011, p. 471).
  26. Biggs, Bruce (1994). "Does Māori have a closest relative?" In Sutton (Ed.)(1994), pp. 96–105
  27. Clark, Ross (1994). "Moriori and Māori: The Linguistic Evidence". In Sutton (Ed.)(1994), pp. 123–135.
  28. Harlow, Ray (1994). "Māori Dialectology and the Settlement of New Zealand". In Sutton (Ed.)(1994), pp. 106–122.
  29. The Endeavour Journal of Sir Joseph Banks, 9 October 1769: "we again advancd to the river side with Tupia, who now found that the language of the people was so like his own that he could tolerably well understand them and they him."
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  32. An underlined k sometimes appears when writing the Southern dialect, to indicate that the /k/ in question corresponds to the ng of the standard language. Both L and G are also encountered in the Southern dialect (qv), though not in standard Māori. Various methods are used to indicate glottal stops when writing the Wanganui dialect.
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  35. Maori-English Tutor and Vade Mecum, Google Books. This was the first attempt by a Māori author at a grammar of Māori.
  36. Māori Orthographic Conventions, Māori Language Commission, accessed 11 June 2010.
  37. "Māori language on the internet", Te Ara
  38. Bauer 1993: 537. Bauer mentions that Biggs 1961 announced a similar finding.
  39. Bauer 1997: 536. Bauer even raised the possibility of analysing Māori as really having six vowel phonemes, a, ā, e, i, o, u ([a, aː, ɛ, i, ɔ, ʉ]).
  40. Harlow 1996: 1; Bauer 1997: 534
  41. [a] is realised as [ɒ] by many speakers in certain environments, such as between [w] and [k] (Bauer 1993:540).
  42. Bauer 1997: 532 lists seven allophones (variant pronunciations).
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  44. Biggs 1988: 65
  45. Bauer 1997: xxvi
  46. Bauer 1993: xxi–xxii
  47. The Hocken Library contains several early journals and notebooks of early missionaries documenting the vagaries of the southern dialect. Several of them are shown at Blackman, A. "Some Sources for Southern Maori dialect", Hocken Library, 7 July 2001. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  48. Goodall & Griffiths (1980) pp. 46–8.
  49. Goodall & Griffiths (1980) p. 50: Southern dialect for 'wai' – water, 'hora' – spread out.
  50. Goodall & Griffiths (1980) p. 45: This hill [The Kilmog]...has a much debated name, but its origins are clear to Kaitahu and the word illustrates several major features of the southern dialect. First we must restore the truncated final vowel (in this case to both parts of the name, 'kilimogo'). Then substitute r for l, k for g, to obtain the northern pronunciation, 'kirimoko'.... Though final vowels existed in Kaitahu dialect, the elision was so nearly complete that pakeha recorders often omitted them entirely.
  51. As with many "dead" languages, there is a possibility that the southern dialect may be revived, especially with the encouragement mentioned. "The Murihiku language-Mulihig' being probably better expressive of its state in 1844-lives on in Watkin's vocabulary list and in may muttonbirding terms still in use,and may flourish again in the new climate of Maoritaka." (Natusch, S. (1999) Southward Ho! The Deborah in Quest of a New Edinburgh, 1844. Invercargill, NZ: Craig Printing. ISBN 978-0-908629-16-9 )
  52. "Approved Maori signage", University of Otago. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  53. "Eastern Southland Regional Coastal Plan", from "Regional Coastal Plan for Southland – July 2005 – Chapter 1". See section 1.4, Terminology. Retrieved 3 December 2014.

Further reading

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  • Banks, Sir Joseph. The Endeavour Journal of Sir Joseph Banks, Journal from 25 August 1768 – 12 July 1771. Project Gutenberg. Also available on Wikisource.
  • Biggs, Bruce (1994). Does Māori have a closest relative? In Sutton (ed.) (1994), pp. 96–105.
  • Biggs, Bruce (1998). Let's Learn Māori. Auckland: Auckland University Press.
  • Biggs, Bruce (1988). Towards the study of Maori dialects. In Ray Harlow and Robin Hooper, eds. VICAL 1: Oceanic languages. Papers from the Fifth International Conference on Austronesian linguistics. Auckland, New Zealand. January 1988, Part I. Auckland: Linguistic Society of New Zealand.
  • Bauer, Winifred (1997). Reference Grammar of Māori. Auckland: Reed.
  • Bauer, Winifred (1993). Maori. Routledge. Series: Routledge descriptive grammars.
  • Clark, Ross (1994). Moriori and Māori: The Linguistic Evidence. In Sutton (ed.) (1994), pp. 123–135.
  • Harlow, Ray (1996). Maori. LINCOM Europa.
  • Harlow, Ray (1994). Māori Dialectology and the Settlement of New Zealand. In Sutton (ed.) (1994), pp. 106–122.
  • Goodall, Maarire, & Griffiths, George (1980). Maori Dunedin. Dunedin: Otago Heritage Books.
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External links