Useful Maori Greetings You Can Learn In 5 Minutes

Te Reo Māori, one of New Zealand's 3 official languages, is spoken widely across the country. While English is definitely the main language of choice, whether you're working, traveling or studying, using a Maori greeting every day can be a fantastic way to be a part of the language, and the culture.

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Basic Māori greetings you can learn in 5 minutes

Kia ora (kee oh-ruh): Hi

Probably one of the most well-known Maori greetings, this is an informal way to say 'hi'.

Mōrena (moh-reh-nuh): Good morning

This is the most widely used greeting for good morning, which you can use around the country.

Tēnā koutou (teh-nah koh-toh): Formal greeting (to more than one person)

In Maori, you can use a different greeting if talking to more than one person. While this greeting is more formal, you might hear some using it at a gathering like a Pōwhiri.

Just in case you're wondering,

Use tēnā koe (teh-nah kw-eh) when talking to a single person
and tēnā kōrua (teh-nah koh-roo-ah) when addressing two people.
Haere mai (hi-reh my): Welcome

You might see this in common NZ locations, for example, if you just arrive at the airport, this may be written somewhere! 

Haere rā (ha-eh-reh rah): Goodbye (from a person who’s staying)

This phrase is also common in exit signs!

E noho rā (eh noh-hoh rah): Goodbye (said by someone who’s leaving)

You may hear this farewell on a Maori broadcast or something similar. One broadcasting channel you might hear it is Radio New Zealand.

Useful Maori phrases

Here are a few Maori phrases that you could try out, along with your greetings. We recommend you check out our Maori phrases post for a more comprehensive list!

Tu meke (too meh-keh): Too much

Contrary to what you might think, this one is meant to show appreciation. ‘Too much’ i.e. tu meke is a slang term used when telling someone they did a good job, or as an alternative to saying ‘awesome’.

Ka pai (kah pie): Good

A colloquial way – used by Kiwis of all ages – to show approval or to tell someone they did a good job.

Kia kaha (key-uh kah-huh): Be strong

An affirmation often used to show support during tough times. Think of it as an equivalent to ‘my thoughts are with you’.

Interested in learning more Te Reo Maori?

Here are a few great New Zealand books to try:

Maori made easy

A Maori word a day

Maori at home