Stacey Morrison - Up to Speed with Te Reo, a special podcast

Up to Speed with Te Reo Māori is a special podcast series by NZME and Te Reo advocate Stacey Morrison. The series of 10 short podcasts help get you up to speed with Māori language phrases and words that are often heard in media, public addresses and everyday conversations in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Stacey Morrison: Learn phrases and words that are often heard in media broadcasts, public addresses and everyday conversations. Photo / supplied

Ko Stacey Morrison tōku ingoa, my name is Stacey Morrison, and episode 3 of Up to Speed with Te Reo kōnae ipurangi – podcast, common whakataukī – proverbs from te ao Māori – the Māori world, kiwaha – colloquial sayings, and commonly heard rerenga kōrero – phrases.

Kia kaha
Kia kaha encourages people to be strong, get stuck in, or to keep going. So it's something we often hear when times are tough, but is also appropriate for cheering on our sporting teams – "Kia kaha, Aotearoa!"

You may also have heard the term, kia kaha te reo Māori, or seen this in big signs at the All Blacks games. You will hear it a lot during Māori language week. Kia kaha Te Reo Māori means "let's make Māori language strong" and is the recent encouraging call to support the revitalisation of Te Reo.

Another common extension of Kia kaha is "kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui. This is often heard in encouragement, and means kia kaha – be strong, kia māia, be brave, and kia manawanui – be steadfast. Kids will hear this at school, sports teams have this as a motto, as the Tall Ferns do.

Another Whakataukī, proverb, commonly heard is Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tūohu koe, me he maunga teitei. Seek the treasure you value most dearly, if bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain. As in, reach for the greatest heights, and don't let anything get in your way.

A lighter, significantly more recent kiwaha or colloquial saying is: Do the mahi, get the treats - William Waiirua.

William Waiirua's catchphrase has ensured many more people know what mahi means – work, job, employment, so as William reminds us, do the work, the mahi, and get the treats. So let's add on a few more aspects to the word "mahi" – to say "mahitahi" is to say work together, collaborate as one- mahitahi, and a kaimahi is a worker - the prefix kai is nothing to do with food, but relates to a the role a person holds: kaimahi: worker, kaiwaiata: singer; kaikōrero, speaker.

Another whakataukī, proverb you will often hear and maybe even see on t-shirts: Aroha mai, aroha atu

Aroha mai, aroha atu
Many people know aroha to mean love, but it has several meanings, not just love. Aroha is also compassion, sympathy and empathy, and it's to be reciprocated. Knowing that aroha means all those things is important because if "Arohanui" is written on a card the sender is wishing the receiver lots of love. But because aroha also means "sympathy" you may see on a sympathy card or online post "ka aroha" which means "I feel for aroha for you right now" and is indeed a kind thing to say.


"Kaitiaki" is a guardian. Kaitiakitanga is the concept of guardianship, and something you'll often hear in the context of whenua, land, awa – rivers, and moana – oceans.


Whakawhanaungatanga is to make connections and build relationships with people. If you go to a hui, there will often be time set aside for "whakawhanaugatanga" time to introduce ourselves and find out who is who. Whanaungatanga means relationship, kinship bonds, so whakawhanaungatanga is the process of building those relationships. You're probably seeing a theme here, that putting tanga on the end of a word can identify the quality or value of that action as in.

Finally, you may hear this said at the end of Te Karere television news show: "Turou Hawaiki" by presenter Scotty Morrison. It's not just nepotism that leads me to explain this, but the fact that it's a question that is asked a lot – what does Turou Hawaiki mean? Turou parea, Turou Hawaiki means "may the ancient homeland of Hawaiki glisten on in mind's eye forever" or, in a short and succinct translation: May the force be with you. Turou Hawaiki!

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