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Up to speed with te reo: Stacey Morrison gives the hot and cold on weather

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Ua is the Māori word for rain, and there are various words to describe different types, such as ua kōnehunehu, for drizzle, and ua tātā, for heavy rain. Photo / George Heard

Kia ora, hi, and nau mai. Welcome to Up To Speed With Te Reo Māori, series two – a set of short podcasts to help get you up to speed with some Māori language phrases and words that are often heard in media, public addresses, and everyday conversations in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

As members of parliament have been heard to say, He waka eke noa – we’re all in this together, we can all get on board. Up To Speed With Te Reo Māori is a time-efficient and accessible way to help get everyone up to speed.

You will hear quotes and real-life examples broken down into easy explanations, with extra insights and tips in there too. It’s bite-sized upsizing!

Ko Stacey Morrison tōku ingoa, my name is Stacey Morrison, and in this kōnae ipurangi – podcast today we are talking about the weather – huarere – which is a good conversation starter in any language! First of all, let’s get a few terms under our belt then progress to some actual weather chat!

The Sun – Tamanui te Rā: To begin, we listen to Auckland Zoo’s informative clip introducing Tamanui te Rā, the sun. Broken down very well in that video, we learn Tamanui te Rā is the full, sacred name for this star. This name personifies the sun, as is common in Māori thinking. It’s also fine to shorten this name to ‘Rā’ which still means sun and also means day. So if I say, “I tēnei rā”, I’m saying “on this day” or “today” – that’s three words: I tēnei rā.

The Sky – Ranginui: Continuing with Auckland Zoo’s series, Hōhepa enlightens us about Ranginui. Just like the sun, Ranginui is the personification of the sky. The shortened version ‘Rangi’ is fine to use for ‘sky’ as well, as well as for ‘day’ – as in “I tēnei rangi” which also means ‘on this day” or “today”. Got that? Both ‘rā’ and ‘rangi’ can mean day. Rā also means sun and rangi also means sky. When you think about it, a day is always measured in seeing the sun and sky, so it makes sense!

Cloud – Kapua, Rain – Ua: Now, let’s add kapua for ‘cloud’ and ua for ‘rain’ to our vocabulary. ‘Ua’ by itself can be used and then for detail there are various words to describe different types of rain, such as ua kōnehunehu, for drizzle, and ua tātā, for heavy rain.

Weather report example – “Ka ua kōpatapata hoki”: In a weather report by Te Rauhiringa Brown, she mentions “ka ua kōpatapata hoki” translating as “a bit of light rain” in the afternoon. We break down this sentence as “ka ua kōpatapata” – ‘light rain will fall’ and “hoki” in this context, means “as well”.

Hot – Wera, Cold – Makariri: Feel the temperature shift with wera for hot and makariri for cold. These words capture the essence of the weather’s extremes – from a scorching day to a chilly evening.

Asking about the weather: Kei Te Aha Te Huarere, Kei Te Pēhea Te Huarere: Language expert Hēmi Kelly suggests a couple of ways to inquire about the weather. “Kei te aha te huarere” means “What is the weather up to?” while “Kei te pēhea te huarere” is a more straightforward “How’s the weather?”

Weather forecast example – Kei Te Paki Te Rā: For a forecast response, Angus from the metservice offers: “Kei te paki te rā,” indicating a fine day. Each word plays its part: kei te – it is; paki – fine; rā – day.

Stacey Morrison (Ngāi Tahu, Te Arawa) is a te reo champion, broadcaster, author and public speaker. She is a breakfast host on NZME’s Flava radio station.

Up to Speed is available to listen on iHeartRadio, Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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