One thing about learning a language like Māori is that you will also encounter various elements of Māori culture besides the language. In fact, even if you aren’t learning Māori, if you live in New Zealand, you will likely (hopefully) encounter these things anyway. This doesn’t happen so much if you’re learning French in New Zealand, for instance. You can get away with just learning the French language and book-learning the cultural elements as you likely won’t encounter them in your everyday life here.
This post is about the words that you might hear at the end of a karakia (prayer, blessing, chant, or similar). This might be at a marae or in a Māori class, but also might be said at the end of a speech opening a conference or at an end-of-year work dinner.
Even if you have no idea what the rest of the korero (speech) was about, after hearing a few you might start to recognise a common refrain at the end of the karakia that goes “haumi e, hui e, TAIKI E.” The parts in capital letters are said by everyone, whereas the lower caps section is said by the speaker. So it goes thus:
- Speaker: (some words in Māori…) haumi e, hui e
- Everyone: TAIKI E
This is basically a ritual ending which is pretty impossible to translate meaningfully, but is a bit like everyone saying “Amen” together at the end of a prayer, but means something along the lines of “join, gather, unite”. Its just something you say.
The pronunciation of “taiki e” is like “tie key e” with the “e” being said like the first “e” in “everyone”. Say it with feeling, and fairly slowly.
There are a few options for the line immediately preceeding “haumi e, hui e, taiki e” but one is “kia tina, TINA” which provides another opportunity to join in and goes like this:
- Speaker: (some words in Māori…) kia tina
- Everyone: TINA
- Speaker: haumi e, hui e
- Everyone: TAIKI E
The word “tina” is also relatively untranslateable here, but means something like “fix it” or “make it firm”. The pronounciation of “tina” is like the name “Tina” but make sure you pronounce both syllables strongly and clearly, a bit like you were angry at Tina – Tina!
If you want to hear what these sound like, this short video on YouTube provides two examples of karakia said by a group of people, finishing with these words. The second example in the video as a fantastic, emotive example of a guy calling out the words for everyone to respond to.