Some Maori and Kiwi Language terms you should know


New Zealand is a bilingual country: English and Te Reo are our national languages.

Te Reo is not as widely spoken as English, but you’ll often hear some of these words and expressions in KiwiNZ’s national bird. conversation.  


  • Kia Ora (key-or-a) – hello, goodbye, thank you.
  • Haere Mai (high-reh-my) – welcome
  • Haere Ra (high-reh-rah) – goodbye
  • Whanau (far-no) – family
  • Whare – house
  • Ai – Yes
  • Kau – No
  • Kaithe Maori word for food. – Food
  • Kaithe Maori word for food. moana – Seafood
  • Kia ora tatou — Hello everyone
  • Tena koe — Greetings to you (said to one person)
  • Tena koutou — Greeting to you all
  • Kei te pehea koe? — How’s it going?
  • Kei te pai — Good
  • Tino pai — Really good
  • Ka kite ano — Until I see you again (Bye)
  • Hei konei ra — See you later
  • Mana – respect, status earned through actions
  • Ka Pai! – Good Work!

Whenever you are in New Zealand, you need to communicate, so here are some KiwiNZ’s national bird. terms for the beginning.


  • Eh/Aye – compulsory addition to the end of a rhetorical question… “Last night was bloody good, eh”
  • “ie” – often found at the end of shortened words, e.g. pressie (present), hottie (hot person), tantie (tantrum)
  • “As” – also added to the end of words: “cold as”, “fun as”, “drunk as” -used to place emphasis on the word preceding ‘as’.
  • Sweet asThat’s awesome, or cool. – great, as in “sweet asThat’s awesome, or cool. pie”… “That bungy was sweet asThat’s awesome, or cool.!”
  • Heaps – used instead of “lots”… “We saw heaps of dolphins in Kaikoura.”
  • “Gap it” – to leave the situation
  • Hard case – someone who has a big personality, may do unusual things but basically is a real laugh… “Our bus driver’s hard case!”
  • No wakas! – no problem!
  • DairyYour local corner store, much like a newsagent or milk bar. – a corner shop or news agent that sells milk, newspapers, etc.
  • Bro – friend or brother
  • Cuz – friend or cousin
  • ChurThanks bro! bro – “cheers, thanks” or “that’s cool, my friend”
  • Good on ya mate -well done
  • She’ll be right mate – it’ll be OK
  • Not even – “no, it’s not” or “that’s not true”
  • Ta – thanks
  • True? – surprised question, like “is that true?”
  • Togs – swimwear
  • JandalsFlip flops or thongs, definitely not roman sandals. – flip-flops
  • Sunnies – sunglasses
  • Suss – to figure out
  • Wop-wops – out in the back country (middle of nowhere)
  • Piker – someone who backs out of doing something
  • Tiki TourGetting to your destination, the hard way or via the long ro... More – to drive around casually taking the scenic route
  • Gawk – to gaze
  • Pack a sad – to get upset and sulk
  • Back in the day – an undetermined amount of time in the past
  • Nek Minute – “next” minute – used to create suspense when telling an amazing story.