SAY IT IN MAORI — 3

By Jim Webber

Now that we seem to be drifting into autumn it’s timely to say farewell to raumati, and no doubt many of the fortunate folk who live in that sunny stretch of the Kapiti Coast will know that that “raumati” is Maori for “summer”.

The other seasons are Ngahuru (Autumn), Hotoke (Winter) and Koanga (Spring).

As the seasons come and go we might think about welcomes and farewells, also familiar to many people even if they aren’t even partial speakers of Maori.

The basic welcomes, seen on many a signboard at the beginning of a town in Aotearoa, are Haeremai and Naumai. Sometimes they’re used together . . . Haeremai, naumai.

Both can be used when welcoming people to your home as well as when welcoming people to your town.  If you want to be specific you might say Naumai ki Kapiti (welcome to Kapiti).

Goodbye — Haere ra is possibly even better known, thanks to the Maori version of “Now Is The Hour”.

And since parting is a time of much thoughtfulness to many Maori there are several versions of farewell — as indeed there are in English.

The main difference is the use of Haere ra to someone who is leaving, while if you’re leaving you would say E noho ra to someone who is staying behind.

There are several other variations, like the informal Ka kite which means “see you” and Ka kite ano which introduces the word ano (again) and means “see you again” or “we’ll meet again” — a useful kind of goodbye which has a positive element of future hope.

Like ano it’s a good time to remember another word which crops up quite often.

The word is marie (pronounced “mahree-eh” with the accent on “ma”). It means “peace” and with this useful word we can say Po marie (“peaceful night” or “good night”) and also Ata marie (“good day” or “peaceful day”).

You can hear announcers on National Radio using such greetings from time to time.

Just remember your basic Maori pronunciation — “a” as “ah”, “e” as in “egg”, “i” as “ee”, “o” as “awe” and “u” as “oo” — and you’ll be okay

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