Te Reo Maori words revived

Friday October 11, 2019 Written by Published in Local
Merle Pukerua (at right) at Te Kopapa Reo Maori workshop at Marsters House. 19101021 Merle Pukerua (at right) at Te Kopapa Reo Maori workshop at Marsters House. 19101021

Merle Pukerua was delighted to discover old Maori words and terms she had never heard of.


 “All these years I never realised we have a Maori word for ‘aunty’, which is koui, and taueka for ‘uncle’.”

“E koui tera noku; meaning she is my aunty,” she adds. “I think it’s so beautiful, like the Maori word for cousin is piringa.”

Learning and hearing of these words and their meanings kept her interest stimulated at Te Kopapa Reo Maori seminar this week.

Pukerua has noted the negative comments on Facebook concerning our Maori language and the people at the forefront of its delivery, “with people writing terrible things such as, oh you people think you are scientists … Well, those people and all their damaging comments are wrong.”

“Te Kopapa Reo Maori are here and very well experienced, versed and qualified in our Maori language, and do conduct a lot of research.”

Revisiting the usage of the makarona (macron) and the amata (hamsah/glottal) language symbols, was also refreshing she says.

Pukerua admits she does not use the symbols in her written Maori today, however, after the three-day workshop, “I want to put it back into practice in my writing.”

A teacher at Tereora College, the approach to the usage of the macron and the hamsah also brought back memories, from when she herself was a student at the school.

“Back then, we were taught Maori with the use of the makarona and the hamsah, by teachers Miss Tutai, Mr Tarapu, Mr Utia and Mr Maeva Karati.”

Kimiora Vogel was also pleased to learn of Maori words she has never known. “It’s been really interesting and I’m grateful to have been invited to this workshop.”

Vogel says, “we have been encouraged to use the symbol our written Maori, because it helps the reader understand the content of what you write.”

Meeting Te Kopapa reo Maori committee for the first time and listening and learning from other experts, was a highlight for her.

“I love the way they describe Reo Maori, loved seeing the passion from them to ensure our reo is passed to the next generation.”

Rutera Taripo, the co-ordinator said the focus was on the pronunciation of Maori words, its spelling and the written form.

Many of our people are great speakers of Maori, however when it comes to writing, they are quite likely to leave out the macron and glottal stop, he says.

There were many words or terms the participants hadn’t heard of before, or didn’t understand.

Taripo says he felt proud at the large number of participants, and seeing how people are still very much passionate about our language and learning more.

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