In my post The Most Basic of Basics I briefly talked about using kia ora to say hello to someone.
However, kia ora is a very useful word, beyond saying hello. It kind of also functions as a general word for politeness and acknowledgement.
You may find that these uses fill a gap that you weren’t sure how to express in te reo Māori, as these types of colloquial uses aren’t usually covered in textbooks or classes.
Hello – to start with, we can frame hello as part of the acknowledgement theme as saying kia ora to someone as a greeting is in effect an acknowledgement.
Thank you/thanks – you can say kia ora to thank someone and to acknowledge their action. For example, if someone hands you something, or does something for you. Similarly, if someone has just given an answer or volunteered in class, it might be acknowledged with kia ora.
Good work/I respect or admire that – if someone has done something worthy, you can say kia ora to acknowledge that. For example, someone says they’ve started studying, or they’re volunteering at a charity, or done something you think is impressive or cool, you can interject with kia ora in a tone of admiration.
Good point/I agree – similar to the above, but in this case used when you are listening to someone speaking or actually giving a speech and feel they made a good point, or you support or agree with what they are saying.
Bye/see ya – if someone is leaving and you have to throw out a quick good-bye-nice-to-see-you-I’m-not-ignoring-you, you can use kia ora. You can also just use kia ora as a general good-bye.
Thanks for reading and see you later – Kia ora!