Not many of us can get past an initial greeting, but taking the time to exchange a few words with locals in their native language, always goes down a treat. New Zealand, like many countries, has a beautiful indigenous language - Te Reo Māori – which is considered a national taonga (treasure) and is thankfully experiencing a revival. If you travel around New Zealand, you’ll notice place names, signs, key terms, and phrases increasingly used in everyday life.
Initiatives such as Māori Language Week (13– 19 September 2021), Māori language schools (from pre-school through to high school) and a Māori language television station are all playing a role in making sure Te Reo remains a living language throughout New Zealand.
The New Zealand wine industry is also embracing the revival with many winegrowers making a deeper connection with Māori culture and values by recognising the significance of their land, the history and relationship with the people.
Manaakitanga, (ma-naa-key-tung-a) which is loosely translated as hospitality, is one of the core values of the Māori culture and has particular significance to the wine industry since it’s all about bringing people together to eat, drink and interact with each other.
Māori are generous hosts and they love nothing more than feeding and nurturing people to ensure guests experience a warm, friendly welcome. Manaakitanga also includes care and respect for the natural environment and is practised by the majority of wineries throughout New Zealand, as is kaitiakitanga (kye-tea-ar-key-tung-a), another core value of Māori culture relating to guardianship of the land to protect it for future generations. Kaitiakitanga is a belief that natures resources belong to the earth, and people are welcome to use these resources, as long as they do so respectfully. The New Zealand wine industry also embraces the principles of whanaungatanga (far-no-na-tar-na), which is about relationships, kinship, and a sense of family connection. It is created through shared experiences and through working together, provides people with a sense of belonging.
You can help support Te Reo Māori by making an effort to get pronunciation right, and using simple words and phrases in everyday conversation.
Some commonly used words and phrases:
- Kia ora – can be used to say hello, express gratitude, send love and make a connection
- Haere mai - Welcome! Enter!
- Mōrena - Good morning!
- Manuhiri - Guests, visitors
- Haka - chant with dance for the purpose of challenge
- Aroha - compassion, tenderness, sustaining love
- Mana - Authority, power; secondary meaning: reputation, influence
- Tūrangawaewae - A place to stand, a place to belong to, a seat or location of identity
- Haere rā - Goodbye
- Whakapapa – family and heritage
- Whānau – family
Terms associated with the wine industry:
- bottle of wine - pounamu wāina
- sparkling wine - wāina pango
- glass of wine - karaihe wāina
- wine tasting - te tihi wāina
- wine list - rārangi wāina
- white wine - wāina ma
- red wine - wāina whero
Many places in NZ have Maori names that evoke elements of the natural environment, some including;
- Mānia – Plain, stretch of land
- Moana – Sea or large lake
- Motu – Island
- Wai – Water
Many NZ wine-producing areas are near rivers and bodies of water, so you will find the Maori word ‘wai’ included in many place names like Wairarapa (glistening waters), Waipara (muddy water), Waitaki (weeping waters / water of tears) and Waiheke Island (the descending waters)– all winegrowing regions of Aotearoa New Zealand.