New te reo Māori glossary to provide terms specific to health sectors

A new Māori glossary will provide translations for existing words, and has also created many new words specific to Mental health, addiction and disability sectors.  

Te Reo Hāpai- The Language of Enrichment launched as part of Matariki and includes over 200 Māori words, terms and whakataukī. 

The glossary took more than two years to create and was formed through consultation with people who have experience of mental health, addiction and disability issues. It's also beneficial to practitioners, clinicians and kaupapa organisations.  

Strategic lead for Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, Keri Opai, led the development of Te Reo Hāpai. Opai says they are proud to have created new language that will help increase people's knowledge of the mental health, addiction and disability

Keri Opai, strategic lead for Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, led the development of Te Reo Hāpai and says throughout the development of Te Reo Hāpai, it was evident there was no Māori equivalent for many words, such as autism.

“I have a close friend who has autism. In my experience, people with autism tend to have their own timing, spacing, pacing and life-rhythm. That’s why I interpreted autism in te reo as ‘takiwātanga’ – ‘his or her own time and space’.”

‘Disabled’ has been translated into ‘whaikaha’ which means to have strength, to have ability, otherly abled, enabled. This word was created with the Māori disabled community, and has a deliberate emphasis on gaining strength and ability.

The focus of Te Reo Hāpai was using language that is non-judgmental and based on the strengths and abilities of people. 

He mana tō te kupu – words have the power to explain, express and define how we understand and experience the world. Te Reo Hāpai has been about creating language in te reo that includes a Māori worldview.”

Opai adds, “We also want to support language that is aligned to our people who use mental health, addiction and disability services. The glossary is especially significant for whānau, for whom Māori is a preferred language.

Our hope is that Te Reo is Hāpai only the beginning.”

Renowned mental health expert Sir Mason Durie wrote the foreword for Te Reo Hāpai. He believes it represents an important milestone in mental health development and is a significant advance of te reo Māori in all facets of life in Aotearoa.