Māori words to know before your Gap Year

Maori words to know before traveling to NZ .

By taking a Gap Year you will open yourself to amazing and new opportunities. A Gap Year is an experience like no other, Sophie from Australia chose New Zealand for her Gap Year. Undecided on what to do after high school, Sophie wanted to gain some skills whilst experiencing a new culture. Sophie tells us about the skills she picked up throughout her journey, and has provided an awesome list of Māori words to know before traveling to NZ .

What‘s been the best part of your Gap Year so far?

What I loved most was certainly the independence I held during my travels combined with my personal development. I was able to travel where I wanted and  do things on my terms which led me to gaining a deep understanding of what life was like.

Tell us about the friends you’ve made

From arriving with no one, I now have heaps of friends through sports and contacts from the school.  Whilst my town was quite small I put in the effort and joined some sports clubs which connected me to some fantastic people. 

My other close friends were the other gappies who added warmth to the trip.

New Zealand always made me feel welcomed and this made my experience of being a young person in a new country a great experience.

Share some of the secret sports or travel adventures from your time so far.

One secret spot is if you go near Taupo you must visit Ohakune and try the famous chocolate eclairs and the Tongariro National Park.

A second secret sport if you dare face the cold then Mount Taranaki has some breath-taking walking trails and is undoubtedly worth the visit .

Sophie visting Mount Taranki

How did choose what places to visit when travelling?

To find the best places to go I googles “New Zealand bucket list” and from there I have a foundation to which I would add ideas.

When I first arrived I was not fully confident to explore but as I acclimatised with the culture I started to adventure further away.

A beautiful photo taken by Sophie.

What are some of the biggest differences between Aus and NZ?

The fire sirens! 

They had a siren to alert volunteer firefighters of fires and this noise was unusual and took some time accustomed to. 

The slang was definitely something different. I had never heard someone classify all desserts as ‘pudding’ or call the corner shop ‘the dairy’. 

One of the funnest part of the trip was discovering the important Maori words know during my Gap Year.

Here’s a list of Māori and Kiwi words I hear daily and now often use

Egg – A term used to describe someone who is acting like an idiot.

“You didn’t listen, you egg.”

Whānau – Family

Guttered – Upset, disappointed (sometimes said in a sarcastic way)

“I lost my jandals.” “Aw, guttered.”

Shame – When someone tells an embarrassing or sad story about themselves (can be said sarcastically).

“I burnt the pudding.” “Shame.”

Rats – Upset, disappointed (also similar to guttered but not sarcastic).

“All Blacks lost.” “That’s rats.”

Chur – essentially means thank you and is used differently in every sentence.

“How are you?” “Chur”.

“I fixed your chilly bin.” “Chur”.

“Kia Ora!” “Chur!”.

“You can borrow my car.” “Chur whānau!”

Mean – Awesome.

“Did you see cuzzy’s try? That was mean!”

Cuzzy – Good friend. 

Togs – swimming costume.

“Grab your togs for the beach.”

Pudding – Dessert.

Dairy – Convenience Shop

Boy Racer – A young person who drives in a fast or aggressive way

Bach – Holiday Home

Mōrena – Good Morning

Wharepaku – Toilet

Tamariki – Children

Haere Mai – Welcome.

Pūkana – to stare intensely during traditional songs or dances. You’ll see this when the Haka is performed.

Tena Koe – Hello! (said to one person)

Tena Korua- Hello! (said to two people)

Tena Koutou – Hello! (said to three or more people)

Tiki Tour – taking the long or hard route to your destination

Jersey – Jumper or Sweater

Kit – Uniform

Some examples of Maori pronunciation are:

Ng – pronounced “na” 

Nga Tau would sound like “na toe”

Wh – pronounced “f” 

R – pronounced softly and rolled

Maori is pronounced like Mow-ri

I know obviously other Kiwi’s might use other words and or pronunciations, however this how I’ve been taught and use 🙂

Games played using Māori

We played Wharewhare (bingo) with the kids and to make it harder numbers (Ngā Tau) were called out in Māori:

Tahi – One

Rua – Two

Toru – Three

Whā – Four

Rima – Five

Ono – Six

Whitu – Seven

Waru – Eight

Iwa – Nine

Tekau – Ten

Equipped with Sophie’s Māori words to know and experiences of New Zealand and some slang, if you’re ready for a Chur whānau Gap Year experience why not contact us at Letz Live

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