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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Dialectical Differences

Many interrelated factors, particularly the isolated location of certain groups and the general hostility that prevailed among many tribes, allowed for the development of dialectal differences during the centuries that followed the original settlement period. Generally there are two main dialects of contemporary Maori in New Zealand, namely, the western and eastern dialects. For historical reasons the Waikato-Ngapuhi dialect complex has come to be regarded as standard Maori. Briefly, some examples of dialectal differences in word usage are:

  • kaika = home (South Island)

  • kainga = home (most other tribes)

  • tangata = man (most tribes)

  • tanata = man (among Tuhoe)

  • kei te pai = good (most tribes)

  • kai te pai = good (among Tuhoe)

  • karekau = in the negative (East Coast, Tuhoe)

  • kao = in the negative (Taranaki)