Word for the Travel Wise (03/12/06)

Anyone who saw Whale Rider a few years back or read the book couldn’t possibly have
watched the entire film without being moved into visiting the country or further exploring the Maori people and their
culture. It was probably one of the very few movies that had such an impact on myself that I immediately began hunting
for flights and accommodation in the area although I really hadn’t the time and especially money for a much desired
vaca down yonder. I’m sure many of you are fascinated by the country, be it for the people or number of outdoor
activities like whale-watching to name only one of few. Before we set off on our long-awaited journey into the land of
kiwi let’s fill our heads with a little Maori language.

Today’s word is a Maori word used in New Zealand:

tapu – sacred

Maori (or Te Reo) is a Polynesian language spoken in
New Zealand and is closely related to Rarotongan, Tahitian, and slightly less closely to Hawaiian and Marquesan. The
lang arrived in New Zealand by way of the Polynesians coming over by canoe most likely from the Cook Islands or Tahiti
many years ago and maintained official status in the country until the 1860’s when it became a minority language. Use
this Wiki information to get you started on the background
and history of the language, but worry not about there being few great resources online for furthering your knowledge
of the Maori. There is also an online language commission (Te Taura
Whiri I te Reo Maori
) that regulates the lingo and has one of the exhaustive list of links to learning within the
country as well as outside. Maori.org has an awesome area to
practice with quizzes on common words, phrases and proverbs.