Category Archives: māori

Māori personal pronouns

As promised another bit of Māori language lore today. If you’re thinking “what the hell do I need Māori for?” right now, take a glance at these guys. If you haven’t figured it out, let me spell it out  for you – you need Māori because that’s what real men speak shout in. (Ok, I’m being silly now. But, I really dp love rugby as much as any true nerd should :))

Now, let’s take a look at Māori personal pronouns.

au/ahau (I); koe (you); ia (he/she)


tāua (you&me); māua (we2-not-you); kōrua (you2); rāua (them2)

tātou (we&you); mātou (we-not-you); koutou (you); rātou (they)

It’s nice to recognise the pattern to it, isn’t it?


Māori kinship terms

It’s no secret that languages have different sets of kinship terms, some very complex, some not. Māori’s is very interesting.

For both male and female ego:

tipuna = grandmother / grandfather
pāpā or matua = father
whaea or māmā = mother
tama = son
tamāhine = daughter
hunaonga = daughter-in-law / son-in-law

Not telling your granpa from your grandma? Interesting, huh?  But wait, here’s more:

For a female ego it’s like this:
tāne = husband
tungāne = brother
tuakana = elder sister
teina = younger sister

Now, for a male ego:
wahine = wife
tuahine = sister
tuakana = elder brother
teina = younger brother

Thus, tuakana and teina really mean “elder sibling of the same sex” and “younger sibling of the same sex”. And you thought languages with obligatory elder/younger sister/brother differentiation were weird.

Next time – Māori personal pronouns.