2 Jan 2020

Māori Phrase a Day with Hemi Kelly: Kei te hiakai koe?

From Summer Times 2020/2021, 11:55 am on 2 January 2020

Three times a week, we'll check in with Hēmi Kelly, to learn some useful te reo Māori phrases you can use in your day-to-day life.

Hemi's a lecturer in Te Ara Poutama - the Faculty of Māori & Indigenous Development at Auckland University of Technology, and his book A Māori Phrase a Day: 365 Phrases to Kickstart Your Reo will be released on January 7.

Last time on the show we learned the phrase: Taihoa, kāore e roa!

Today's phrase: Kei te hiakai koe?

Translation: Are you hungry?


If we think about what we've learned already, we can start to figure out what this is asking, Hēmi says.

"The 'kei te' is the present, doing. The 'koe' is you. So we're asking you a question."

"And we've got the word 'kai' in there - a lot of us know this to be food".

"'Hiakai' is to want food, or to be hungry - so we're saying 'are you hungry?' 'Ke te hiakai koe?'"

"We put that little 'hia' in front of a noun like 'kai', we're saying 'want food' or to be hungry."

We do the same with the word 'moi' - sleep.

"'Hiamoi' - to be sleepy."

"Your answer might be 'āe' - for yes - or 'kāo' for no."

Blending the vowels in words like "koe"

"We see a lot of vowels sitting together than make one sound in Māori."

"If you're new to the language, go back to the vowel sounds: ah, eh, ee, oh, oo."

"Here we've got 'oh' and 'eh' - so we roll them together to make that sound: 'koe."'

"It's not like 'kway' - it's fluid and rolls into itself."


Click the play button above to hear Hēmi pronounce this phrase and take you through any pronunciation nuances

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