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How to Say Happy Birthday in Maori

As the native language of the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Maori language has an old and proud history. It’s one of New Zealand’s national languages and is still spoken across the country to this day.

If you know someone who speaks Maori, wishing them a happy birthday in the language will be a welcome surprise and may make their day.

So, let’s dive in and find out how to wish someone a happy birthday in Maori!

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How to Say Happy Birthday in Maori?

There are a couple of ways to say happy birthday in Maori, both of which technically mean ‘happy birthday to you’. 

The first way to wish someone a happy birthday in Maori is to say Rā whānau ki a koe, which is pronounced as Raah faah-no kyaa qweh. 

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Alternatively, you can say Hari huritau ki a koe, which is pronounced as Haah-ri hoo-ri tauw kyaa qweh. Either is fine and can be used interchangeably to wish someone a happy birthday.

Other Celebratory Phrases in Maori

Sometimes, you don’t specifically want to say happy birthday, but you still want the sentiment to come across. There are a ton of celebratory phrases that you can use for a wide range of occasions including weddings, christenings, promotions, or just little wins.

If you’re looking to learn a couple of Maori words and phrases that are going to work in a wide variety of situations, then these are the ones to learn!

First up, if you want to cover all bases, you can say congratulations which in Maori is Ngā mihi. You can use this in so many different situations and works written down or spoken. 

If there’s a toast going on at a party or you’re in a bar, you’re likely going to be cheering for the birthday person or celebrant. Cheers in Maori is Mauri ora, so when you raise your glass, remember to say this.

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Signing off from an email, message, or birthday card? You might want to tell someone to have a nice day. In this case, you’d write or say Kia pai to ra. It’s definitely more of a written sentiment or a more formal address.

Another more written or formal address is to say all the best. This is commonly used in birthday cards as a sign-off, so you can say or write Noho ora mai.

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How to Sing Happy Birthday in Maori

You’ll be glad to hear that the Maori happy birthday song follows the exact same tune as the English one, so it’s the same line repeated four times with the person’s name filled in on the third line. So, the Maori happy birthday song goes like this:

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“Rā whānau ki a koe!

Rā whānau ki a koe!

Rā whānau ki a [insert name],

Rā whānau ki a koe!”

It’s pretty straightforward and has a big impact, especially if there’s a delicious cake coming around the corner! 

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