Nga Mihi - Greetings

There is an implicit protocol to greetings generally in Maori culture - a kind of dance; a two-way communication involving much more than just spoken words. Inflection, eye contact, and other body language impart valuable cues to both people taking part in the exchange.

In Maori culture being able to greet people appropriately is considered very important. It is an opportunity for people to show respect and through the choice of language used and the accompanying actions; the tone for the interaction is set. Whether the greeting is written or spoken, choosing the appropriate language is all important.

People can be offended if a person fails to offer or reply to a greeting. Learning to greet people appropriately is key to communication success.


Kia ora
Tena koe
Hello (to one person)
Tena korua
Hello (to two people)
Tena koutou
Hello (to three or more people)

Inquiring Question

Kei te pehea koe?
How are you?


Kei te pai ahau
I’m good
Ka nui te ora
I’m great
Me koe?
And you?


Haere ra
Goodbye (to someone leaving)
E noho ra
Goodbye (to someone staying)
Ka kite ano
See you again
Hei kona
See you later


Now that you have the general idea about greetings why don’t you try out our interactive conversations.

Or find out about different Maori protocols like visiting a marae or meeting house.

  • Powhiri: The formal welcoming ceremony
  • Karanga: The call inviting strangers to enter the marae or meeting place
  • Whaikorero: The art of Maori oratory
  • Mihimihi: Less formal introduction given by individuals
  • Marae Visits: A guide on what to do on the Marae

You can also join the online Maori Language Club.