Kia eke te Wiki o te Reo Māori! Māori Language Week is here. We’re all having a go, and hope you are too.
Here at Write we’re specialists in English. We don’t offer specific advice about te reo Māori or translation services. But we keep an eye out when we’re editing or consulting, and if we spot something that looks wrong to us, we’ll let you know. Several of us speak a little Māori, and we know where to go to do initial checks for correctness.
If you’re looking for a good source of first-line advice, we recommend maoridictionary.co.nz.
The Write Style Guide offers advice about macrons, Māori place and organisation names, plurals, and greetings.
As a style guide, it doesn’t cover your communications style, like tone of voice. Here, style means a set of standards for punctuating and formatting your writing. Using style correctly makes your writing consistent, polished, and professional.
Here are our style guide’s tips about using te reo well.
Macrons show a long vowel sound in te reo Māori.
Macrons can be essential to differentiate words with similar spelling.
kākā (large native forest parrot)
kakā (hot, inflamed)
kāka (brown bittern — a rare bird living in swamps)
Use maoridictionary.co.nz to check which Māori words need macrons.
Many official place names are dual names, incorporating the original Māori place name and the English name. Check the New Zealand Gazetteer on the Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) website for specific place names.
Here are some examples:
Aoraki / Mount Cook
Matiu / Somes Island
Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe
Milford Sound / Piopiotahi
Separate dual names with a slash and put a space on each side. The LINZ website also has information about writing place names with macrons.
Some organisations prefer to be known by their Māori name. Check their website to find out.
Use Te Puni Kōkiri
Not Ministry of Māori Development
Use Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori
Not Māori Language Commission
Plurals don’t take an ‘s’ in Māori. The context shows whether a word is plural.
The kiwi is settling into its new environment
The kiwi are in the nocturnal house with our three tuatara.
Kia ora Hello / Hi
Ata mārie Good morning
Ahiahi mārie Good afternoon
Hei konā mai Goodbye for now
Mā te wā Bye for now / See you later
Noho ora mai Stay well
Nāku noa, nā Yours sincerely
We’re putting the finishing touches on the eighth edition of The Write Style Guide, with a fresh new cover. Watch this space!