Apr 13, 2021


Maori News & Indigenous Views

upokopakaru, talks sex in Maori, #brilliant

4 min read

We came across upokopakaru, a brilliant blogger, and had to share, just what we were looking for, do check the rest of the blog out, koi stuff whanau tino koi!

Lets talk aboutsex by Upokopakaru (check out the full blog here)

Usually I get my students to make up their own stories using new sentence structures if the contexts are funny or relevant to their regular lives, theyre more likely to remember the lessons.

So the other day one of my students was describing guy-meet-girl pub senario which ended with:

[sws_grey_box box_size=”620″]Ka mahi ai a Piripi i a Mereana [/sws_grey_box]

Ohmygod, I thought, I hope not.

Whilemahi aican meanto copulate, to have sex, it wasnt until I heard it that I realised how bad it sounded. You see,aiandatialso meanprogenyandprocreate;it sounded as if Piripi and Mereana made babies, which Im pretty sure is the last thing a one-night stand wants to have. By the way, this is where we get the words Ngai, Ngati, Te Ati and Aitanga.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”620″]

Ngai Tahu = Ngaaia Tahu
The descendants of Tahu

Ngati Tuwharetoa = Ngaatia Tuwharetoa
The progeny of Tuwharetoa

The descendants of Haunui-a-Paparangi

TeAitanga a Mahaki
The progeny of Mahaki


Even thoughaican be translated asto have sex with, there is an implied meaning that it resulted in pregnancy as in narratives where we already know the outcome.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”620″]

Iaitiate wahine a Whakaue ko Rangiuru e Tuwharetoa.
Tuwharetoa had sex with Whakaues wifeRangiuru
(and she became pregnant with Tutanekai).


In modern contexts it can be used for eithersexorto impregnate;just be careful, thats how rumours start.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”620″]Iaitiaa Mereana e Piripi

Piripi had sex with Mereana
Piripi got Mereana pregnant[/sws_grey_box]

A more discrete way to describe a hook-up is using the wordpiri, which meansto cling,stick, attach. It doesnt mean that they had sex, just that they are (or were) together in some way.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”620″]

I rangona kuapiria Mereana raua ko Piripi inapo?
Did you hear that Mereana and Piripi got together last night?


If you wanted to emphasise that its serious between them you could usepumau, meaningfixed, constant or permanent. Its also used to describe loyalty and faithfulness in relationships.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”620″]

Kuapumaua Piripi raua ko Mereana.
Piripi and Mereana have gotten serious.

He taupumauraua.
Theyre soul mates.


Another word used for sex isekeeke. Eke meansto mount(e.g. eke pahikarabike riding, or whakaeke maraego onto the marae). Its used for mating animals not generally for people; if you do it will sound crass and explicit.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”620″]

Ka arahia mai tana puru kiaekeekeanga kau.
His bull was brought over to mate with the cows.

They fucked.


The most common word for sex ismoe(a)which meansto sleep with someoneorto bed someone; however it also meansto marry. You need to be very careful with this word!

[sws_grey_box box_size=”620″]

Imoete tama ki te taha o tona whaea.
The boy slept with (next to) his mother.

Imoete tama i tona whaea.
The boy slept with (married) his mother.


A student once got cross with me because she wanted to differentiate between how long her and her partner had been together (in a de-facto relationship with kids) and how long they had been legally married. She wouldnt accept that theyre the same thing in te reo.

From a Maori perspective, if you slept together, lived together and had children together, you were married with or without a ceremony. It doesnt mean that you couldnt split up but sharing a bed with someone was a serious commitment. If you want to specify an introduced tradition use an introduced word,marena.

In a modern context you can usemoein a more casual way.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”620″]

Imoea Piripi i a Mereana.
Piripi slept with Mereana.


Or use it to describe committed, living-together relationships (de-facto, civil union, marriage).

[sws_grey_box box_size=”620″]

Kuamoea Piripi raua ko Mereana.
Piripi and Mereana are married.




Im a teacher te reo M?ori but since Im a second-language speaker, Ill also be a student for the rest of my life. Currently that involves post-graduate studies in te reo.

Upokopakaru started as a way for me to organise my notes and other idle musings sometimes about what Im learning, othertimes about what Im teaching. Its also a useful repository for cute phrases that I hear (but have no immediate use for) so that I dont forget them.

But its also a way of sharing things I love with other people who love te reo too. There arent many resources for people like us adequate speakers of te reo who want to get better, who gush over the beauty of a new word or are amused by a new turn of phrase.

Most of what I post will be about words and phrases I like, or I might have a rant about a knotty point of grammar. However you wont find opinion pieces about the state of te reo blah blah blah Im really too busylearningte reo to bother convicing others of its merit.

And why is it calledupokopakaru? If youve learnt te reo, you already know.

8 thoughts on “upokopakaru, talks sex in Maori, #brilliant

  1. He rawe te korero na Upokopakaru. Ae, tino koi ona whakaaro. How do I get his blogs posted to my phone???

  2. Tena ra koe. Ko ahau hoki tetahi i te ako tonu i to tatou reo ataahua. Heoi ano, he rawe ou korero, au whakamarama hoki. E tika ana tau he ruarua noa iho nga wahi hei whakawhiti korero tatou. Ko tetahi wahi kua kitea ai ko te wharangi mo te reo Maori ki runga o Pukamata. Tirohia ki reira, he korereo hei whakahikohiko i te hinengaro. Etahi wa ka karanga atu ki taku kotiro, 13 tana pakeke, te titiro atu me te matapaki ano nga kaupapa korero. Kia kaha ra te ako, te whakaako hoki to tatou reo kia rangatira ai.

  3. Personally I prefer the more poetic forms

    kua whawha te ringa a Piripi i a Mereana
    kua awhi-a-kiri a Mereana raua ko Piripi (*Mihi to Rihi Puhiwahine)
    kua muramura ke nga papa a Mereana i te hika ahi a Piripi

    or the more direct
    Kua onioni a Piripi raua ko Mereana
    Kua tongia te ure a Piripi ki a Mereana

  4. Ka mau te wehi e hoa. He rawe nga korero kua whakatakotohia e koe ki runga ra. Ka hokihoki mai ano ahau.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.