Maori hitchhiking phrases

Here is my attempt to kind of contribute to the global hitchhiking heritage. Nowadays, you probably won’t meet a Maori in New Zealand who doesn’t speak English but, in my opinion, any language is primarily a tool for making life less boring rather than a mean of communication.

New Zealand Maori is an Eastern Polynesian language. The Maori dialects of Ratoronga, Tahiti, Hawaii, and all the islands of French Polynesia are very closely related to the Maori language spoken in New Zealand. There is rather less relation with the western Polynesian languages in Tonga, Samoa, and Niue, and still less to the Melanesian languages of Fiji.

The above quote is from the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, 1966 year of edition, the second volume of which mysteriously ended up in our home. Soon I will know everything about New Zealand that starts with letters H through P, and that had been known by 1966.

It sounds like speaking Maori is useful when traveling throughout the Pacific. When James Cook reached New Zealand in 1769, he was able to communicate with Maoris thanks to a Tahitian boy who was in his ship. This didn’t prevent bloodshed, however, and the Encyclopedia doesn’t say whether the minor differences between the Maori and Tahitian dialects were the cause of misunderstanding. Well, one way to check it is to learn NZ Maori and go to Tahiti:)

Anyway, here are the phrases that I’ve learned from my Maori friends.

Hello (informal) — Kia ora
Hello (formal) — Tena koe (to one person); Tena korua (to two persons); Tena koutou (to more than two persons)
How are you? — Kei te pehea koe? (to one person); Kei te pehea korua? (to two persons); Kei te pehea koutou? (to more than two persons)
How are you? (In the North Island) — E pehea ana koe?

I am going to name_of_a_small_town — Kei te haere ahau ki te name_of_a_small_town
I am going to name_of_a_big_city — Kei te haere ahau ki name_of_a_big_city (there is no ‘te’ as in the previous one)
Where are you going? — Kei te haere koe (korua/koutou) ki hea? (In the North Island: E haere ana koe ki hea?)
Where? — Ki hea?
Can I ride with you? — Kei te pirangi ahau ki te motoka
Please — Koa
Stop — Kati
Here — Mea nei (for things); Tera nei (for people)
There (close) — Mea na (for things); Tena na (for people)
There (far) — Mea ra (for things); Tera ra (for people)
Yes – ae
No – Kao; Kahore; Kaore
Thanks — Kia ora
Where are you from? — No hea koe?
I am from … – No … ahau.
Good bye — Haere ra

If you see any mistakes, please correct me — I am not an expert in Maori.

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Published in: on 02/10/2010 at 07:08  Leave a Comment  

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