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The meanings given here relate to those in specific context of the site and do not necessarily include any or all other meanings. Where required, deeper explanations are provided within texts and footnotes provided on the website. Other meanings may be sought from Ngāpuhi language and cultural experts, Ngāpuhi dictionaries or by contacting the site administrator, Dr Benjamin Pittman. Recognising that many readers will be unfamiliar with Māori words, which are nevertheless essential to understanding the often complex situations described, for ease of reference and recall, the convention used is that Māori words are followed by their English equivalents on most occasions: while for some readers this may be tiresome it will save others having to look up words in the glossary each time they are encountered:

ahi kā continuous occupation of land or place; keeping the home fire alight
aho a ngā tūpuna interconnecting threads of the ancestors
Aotearoa the Māori name for New Zealand
āpōpō tomorrow
ariki first born; noble; senior chief
atawhai adopted child; whāngai
awheto vegetable caterpillar, a species of moth caterpillar which develops in the soil and becomes infected with the spores of the Cordyceps robertsii fungus
haerenga trip; journey
hahunga ceremony of scraping bones and painting them with kokowai before permanent internment in a burial cave or other place
hākari large, celebratory feast
hapū the main unit of a larger tribal nation and the most important kinship grouping for Māori; often referred to as a sub-tribe but strictly speaking a tribe or clan grouping with genealogical roots to others and often traqcing descent from a common ancestor or ancestors
Harakeke New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax
hau kino a bad or foul wind
hau pai a good wind
heke rafters, ribs
he ra pai a good day; good days; some good days
heru traditional comb for hair, made of wood or bone, often delicately carved
hikoi a journey undertaken by a group with a set purpose and destination
hoa friend
hoa riri enemy
Hokianga place in Northland, regarded by many as the cradle of Māori settlement in Aotearoa, in full Te Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe, The Place of the Great Returning of Kupe
hongi traditional Māori and Polynesian greeting of pressing noses
huata lances
hui gathering; meeting
ika fish
iwi nation; tribal grouping; literally, bones
kahu clothing; cloak, as in kahu kiwi, kahu kuri, kahu kukupa, kahu kererū, kahu kākā. Māori prized the feathers of certain birds such as Kiwi, Kākā, Kukupa/Kererū, Tui, Huia, and skins of the Māori Kuri
kai food; eat
kaikōrero distinguished orator and expert in the rituals of encounter
kainga settlement; village; home without major fortifications
kaipuke ship, European style boat
kaitaka superior, finely-woven cloak of specially dressed muka and framed with geometric taniko borders
kaitiaki guardian; caretaker of a place or taonga
kākahi freshwater mussel
kānga wai fermented corn
karakia blessings; prayers; incantations
kaumātua respected elder
kaupapa matters for consideration; theme; topic; subject
Kauri tree, Agathis australis, a superior tree of immense size and value once extensively milled for timber but now largely protected
kāwanatanga government; central government
kehua ghost; apparition
kewai fresh-water crayfish; koura
Kiwi Flightless bird, Apteryx, national emblem of Aotearoa
koha gift; recompense
koikoi spears; tao
kokowai red ochre
kohuru murder
koretake useless, incapable, incompetent, baseless
koruru mask representing the face of a prime ancestor, placed over the apex of the barge boards of a house
Kowhai tree, Sophora microphylla which in spring produces a mass of large, golden yellow, pea-like flowers before leaves appear, very popular with birds such as Tui
kuaha doorway
kupapa Māori recruited as fighting forces to fight with government militia agaionst other Māori
Kuri native Māori dog, brought to Aotearoa by early Māori voyagers
mahi work; labour; task
mahi tuhituhinga written work; work in writing
maihi barge boards of a house, representing outstretched arms
mana personal status; standing; authority; charisma; esprit de corps, particularly in the eyes of others
mana toa warrior strength and status
Māori a collective term for the various indigenous nations of Aotearoa
marae a communal centre for meetings and ceremonies related to a particular family, hapū or iwi grouping
mataika the first killed in battle (Kei au the mataika! Mine is the first!)
matakite the seeing eye; visionary; able to look into and predict the future
matapihi window
matauranga o te knowledge of the upper jaw; esoteric and high-order priestly
kauae runga knowledge
matauranga o te knowledge of the lower jaw; knowledge of everyday and
kauae raro practical things
mana whenua imbued status and standing related to the possession and use of lands
mate ura ura aftermath of a battle where there are no survivors on the losing side
mauri life force; essential essence
maunga mountain
moko traditional tattoo deeply incised by bone chisels
mokopuna grandchild
Muriwhenua the northernmost parts of Aotearoa
muru ritual plunder of property undertaken as payment for transgression
nga hau e wha literally the four winds but also a term applied to people from far and near; those who have dispersed throughout the world
ngutu lips; beak
ope a travelling group/party with a common mission or purpose
traditional fortified, defensible village usually constructed on a hill
pākanga war; battle; fight
pākehā a non-Māori person, especially of European descent
paru dirt; mud; dirty; soiled
pepehā saying; expression; proverb, usually related to a specific iwi, hapū or whānau group
Pēwhairangi the Māori name for the Bay of Islands
pipi edible sea mollusc
pito umbilicus
poupou carved supporting panels which bear the weight of roof rafters
poutokomanawa main poles supporting the ridge beam of a house
pu guns; firearms
pukapuka tātai a book recording hand-written lines of genealogy
puke hill
pure rites of purification
Puriri large tree, Vitex lucens, producing extremely hard, heavy and durable timber
Rakiura Māori name for Stewart Island
rangatira one born of the chiefly class
rangatiratanga sovereignty; chieftainship; political authority
raparapa fretted ends of house barge boards symbolising fingers
raupatu assumption of territory through conquest and occupation
ra tapu sacred or holy day; Sunday
ritenga rites and rituals, customs, practices
rohe boundaries; borders established between groups
rōngoa medicines;  rōngoa hoiho (horse medicines)
runanga tribal councils
Ruru Morepork, the New Zealand owl
tāhuhu ridge beam of a house, the backbone of the house
Taiamai the inland area from Pēwhairangi around Ohaeawai
taipo goblin; tupua
Tai Hauauru the west coast of Aotearoa
Tai Rawhiti the east coast of Aotearoa
Tai Tokerau the northern parts of Aotearoa; Northland
Tai Tonga the southern parts of Aotearoa
take issue; reason; cause;  claim; concern
takiwa region; zone; area
tāngata koretake useless, incompetent, inconsequential people
tangihanga mourning ceremonies associated with dying and death
taniwha water-based guardian force or being, entity
taonga treasured possession or something of great value
taotahi tātai showing one person each generation
tapu sacred; set apart under sanction
taro Root vegetable, Colocasia esculenta
tātai (tūpuna) line of genealogy; originally recited, often used in Ngāpuhi in preference to whakapapa although both are used interchangeably in the present text
taua war party; army
taua kōhuru war party to avenge a murder
taua muru party or group seeking utu through ritual plunder
taua waka war party; army travelling by canoe
tauhou foreign;foreigners; tauiwi
tauira student; one under formal instruction
tauiwi foreigners; tauhou
Te Ika a Maui the north island of Aotearoa
teina younger brother or sister
tekoteko carved figure at the upper apex of the barge boards, the high point rather like a tapu top knot on the head of a chief
Te Wai Pounamu the south island of Aotearoa
tikanga customs; traditions
tikitiki top knot, the traditional hair style for Māori warriors often held in place with a heru
toa warrior
toa rangatira chiefly warrior
tohu a sign; indication
tohunga one chosen of the Gods; priestly expert in a designated field of knowledge and practice
tomo arranged marriage; also, taumau
Tōtara large timber tree, Podocarpus Tōtara, greatly favoured for carving and canoes
tuakana the eldest child
tuarā backbone, spine
tuna freshwater eels
tuhituhinga writing;written
tuke elbow
tukutuku woven panels with symbolic patterns used between poupou in whare whakairo
tūpuna reveredancestors; grandparents; also, tīpuna
turangawaewae foothold; ancestral lands to which attach rights of occupation
ture law(s)
tuturu real; true; authentic
uri descendants
utu reciprocity; payback; return; response; price; reward; cost
wai water
waiata songs
wairua sacred spirit
waka canoe
waka taua war canoe
whakamoe tātai showing marriages
whakapapa genealogy often traced from an eponymous ancestor; tātai
whakaruruhau protector (literally, shelter from the winds)
whakatauki saying; proverb; aphorism
whānau family; extended family; be born; birth
whāngai adopted child; literally a ‘feeder’ child; also, atawhai
whanaunga relation; relationship
whānui greater, wider, as in Ngāpuhi whānui – greater, the whole of  Ngāpuhi as a grouping and alliance
whare whakairo traditional carved meeting house, the focal point of a marae


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