New kupu for Māori Language Week

8:56 am on 27 July 2015

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori runs from 27 July to 2 August. To kick it off, here is a guide to some of the words and concepts used by RNZ and Te Manu Korihi.

Radio New Zealand microphone

Photo: RNZ

It has always been Radio New Zealand's policy that presenters pronounce Māori words and place names as they are correctly said in the Māori vernacular.

Eru Rerekura

Eru Rerekura Photo: SUPPLIED

And, just recently, we have started adding macrons above certain vowels to indicate that they have a lengthened sound. This can differentiate the meaning of a word.

For example, "keke" means "cake". If you add macrons and write it as "kēkē", it changes the whole meaning and it becomes the word for "armpit" - a potentially embarrassing situation if you actually wanted a piece of cake.

Since 2006, Radio New Zealand has also really made an effort to use Māori language greetings during Morning Report, at the start of most of the hourly bulletins, on the various feature and music programmes, and on our website.

Just in case you may not understand what these salutations mean, here is a list of them with their English translations and a guide as to how they should be pronounced.

If you are a regular listener, or if you read the stories in Te Manu Korihi's section on the RNZ website, you may also notice that certain other Māori words appear quite frequently and are used naturally in our stories.

One of Te Manu Korihi's aims is to normalise the Māori language and slowly introduce new words to our listeners' vocabulary.

Here are some words that you will hear or read in most of the stories on Te Manu Korihi - and I've also included an audio link so that you can hear how these kupu, or words are said:

Hapū (huh-poo): A sub-tribe, a smaller unit of an iwi, or tribe. For example, Ngāti Hine is a major hapū of Ngāpuhi.

Kaupapa (co-puh-puh): Depending on the context this word has several meanings, including - topic, policy, philosophy, matter for discussion, plan, purpose, scheme, proposal, agenda, subject, programme, theme, issue, initiative.

Kōrero (kaw-rair-raw): Speech, narrative, story, news, account, discussion, conversation, discourse, statement, information.

Mātauranga (muh-tow-ruh-nguh): Knowledge, wisdom, understanding, skill, education, knowledgeable person, sage, scholar, intellectual, academic.

Motu (maw-too): This word has about five different meanings but in most cases, and probably 100 percent of the time on Te Manu Korihi, it is used for "country" when we are describing Aotearoa/New Zealand as a "nation". For example: "Māori leaders from throughout the motu (country) attended the hui (gathering, meeting)."

Rangatira (ruh-nguh-tee-ruh): Leader or chief

Rohe (raw-hair): Tribal district, area, region

Rūnanga (roo-nuh-nguh): Tribal council or board, iwi authority

Tāngata whenua (taar-nguh-tuh fair-noo-uh): Literally, people of the land - tāngata (with a macron) is the plural for person, and whenua means land. In the stories that Te Manu Korihi journalists write, we often use this as alternative for Māori, or to describe indigenous people from another country.

Whakapapa (fuh-kuh-puh-puh): Geneology, lineage, descent

Here are two websites that I would recommend bookmarking in your internet browser: http://www.maoridictionary.co.nz/ and http://www.learningmedia.co.nz/ngata.