A Glossary Of Te Reo Māori Terms From THE DEAD LANDS
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A Glossary Of Te Reo Māori Terms From THE DEAD LANDS

by Shudder
February 28, 2020

If you’ve been watching The Dead Lands on Shudder, you may have been wondering about some of the te reo Māori terms being used. So, to give you a bit of a deeper understanding of the Māori language, we’ve got a handy glossary for you. 

Aroha — Love, affection, empathy

Aotearoa — Māori name for New Zealand

Iwi — Tribe, bones

Kai – Food

Karakia — Prayer, incantation

Karo — Defense, to ward off

Kōrero – Discussion

Kuia — Female elder

Maiki— Demonic servants to Whiro, God of the underworld

Māori — Indigenous person/tribes of New Zealand

Mau Rākau — Māori martial arts

Pā — A village or home complex

Pākeha – A non-Māori person

Patu— BeaBng, assault, killing, weapon, club

Pou — A pole, a carved totem

Reo — Language, voice

Taniwha — Mythical creature, guardian

Tapu — Sacred Tikanga Customs, the correct way

Tipua —Demon, monster

Toa — Warrior, bravery

Tūmārō — Persistence, perseverance, determination, diligence

Tohunga —Expert, priest, shaman

Whānau — Family

Whenua —Land, placenta

For those who aren’t yet familiar, the fantasy-action-adventure series is set in a mythical Aotearoa-New Zealand and is the first genre TV show to showcase Māori mythic storytelling and martial traditions. It’s also created by a mostly Māori and entirely Polynesian cast and crew.  

You can learn more about cultural authenticity in The Dead Lands as well as Mau Rakāu, the Māori martial art, in these two behind-the-scdenes featurettes.

A dishonored warrior, Waka Nuku Rau dies, but his Ancestors in the Afterlife send him back to the world to find redemption and honor. There, in the world of the living, he is aided by Mehe, a determined young woman, and together they discover the world has been disrupted by forces not of the living. Someone, or something, is preventing the Dead from entering the Afterlife and now the Dead are thrown back into their decaying bodies to hunt the living.

So what are you waiting for? The first season’s almost over, so check it out right here on Shudder. Just remember to take your glossary with you.