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Keywords for common Māori words

To celebrate Māori Language Week here in Aotearoa (New Zealand), here's some mnemonics to help you learn 25 common words in te reo. These use the keyword mnemonic. Keywords are written in italics.

aroha (love), an arrow in the heart

awa (river), a water flowing

hīkoi (walk), hike

hui (gathering, meeting), a lot of hooey is spoken at meetings!

iti (small), itty bitty

iwi (tribe), I and we make a tribe

kai (food), food for the Kaiser

karakia (prayer), no prayer against karate

kaumatua (elder), it's always calm out for the elders

mahi (work or activity) Ma and he work hard

manuhiri (guests, visitors), Get a menu here for guests

moana (sea), A moaner on the sea

motu (island), The island has a mob too

nui (large, many, big), Many big things sound new

puku (belly, stomach), Poke the stomach

taihoa (to delay, to wait), We can delay if you tie the hoer

tama (son, young man), The young man said, Ta, Ma

tamāhine (daughter), He gave his daughter a tomato

tipuna/ tupuna (ancestor ), Tip one for the ancestor

wahine (woman, wife), What he knew about the woman

wai (water), Why water?

waiata (song or chant), Why utter a song?

whaikōrero (the art and practise of speech-making ), Fight corny speeches

whānau (extended family), My family is far now

whenua (land, homeland), When you come home to the land.

You can see more common Māori words at Mā

Find more resources in te reo