Whakamahia te Reo - Using Reo

There are many ways Maori language could be incorporated into the day to day business environment.

Here are a few basic suggestions for using Maori when when writing a letter of on the telephone . If you want to look at options in greater detail we suggest you consult Maori for the Office, Te Reo Maori mo te Tari, a publication written by Te Taura Whiri i te reo Maori – the Maori Language Commission – and published by Oxford University Press.

Writing letters

If your letter is more formal you might begin with the greeting, Tena koe (name) where in English you would write Dear (name).

If you were writing a general greeting such a Dear Sir/Madam you could use a form such as – E te rangatira, tena koe. In that case rangatira (chief) may refer to a man or a woman in the way that Sir or Madam is used in English.

Note: If your letter is to two people you should use the form – Tena korua, and if to three or more people – Tena koutou.

A more informal letter might begin with Kia Ora – a phrase which can refer to any number of people.

To end your letter you may finish with an expression such as Hei kona mai (Goodbye for now); Hei kona mai me te aroha (With Love); or Kia rongo korero ano au i a koe (Until I hear from you again).

To sign off you can use the following phrases:

- Naku, na (Yours faithfully)
- Naku noa, na (Yours sincerely)
- If the letter is being signed by two people use Na maua (noa), na
- And if by three or more people use Na matou (noa), na

If you want your sign off to be more expressive of gratitude you could use an expression such as Naku i runga i aku mihi ki a koe (Yours with thanks)

The examples above give basic letter openings and endings. If you want to take your business’s letter writing further in cultural terms there are other forms to consider and you should seek more advice or consult the book mentioned above.

On the telephone

As with letters there is the same distinction between the more formal Tena koe and the less formal Kia ora when you are answering the phone.

For some examples of other kinds of greetings and farewells check out the Meet and Greet section in the Interactive Conversations on this site.