Get dressed

In English putting on is different to wearing something, but both words can be used for everything from shoes to earrings.

In te reo there are words which can mean both to get dressed and to wear but some are more appropriate for particular items. It’s the tense and context that affect the translation, e.g. people often use whakamau(ria) as a command to put something on but if the item is already on it means to do it up.

Kākahu(ria) – I kākahuria ia ki tana korowai.
To dress, to wear, to clothe – She was dressed in her cloak

Whakakākahu(ria) – Kua mōhio ki te whakakākahu i a ia anō.
To make (one) dressed – She had learnt to dress herself

Mau(ria) – Ka mauria e ia tōku rīngi.
To carry, to hold – She wears my ring.

Whakamau(ria) – I whakamauria ana hei taringa.
To fasten, to fix – She put on her earrings.

Another word for get dressed is tāwharu, although for some reason it seems to have fallen out of common usage.

Tāwharu(a) – Kua mōhio ki te tāwharu i a ia anō.
To clothe, to deck – She had learnt to dress herself

There are a couple more ways of saying to put on, which express a slightly different way of seeing things. The following appear in a book about Whanganui reo but are also used in other areas. Mau(ria) is still used there but only for things such as hats, scarves or jewellery that don’t envelope the body.

Komo(hia) – Komohia ōu pūtu
To put in, to insert – Put on your boots

Kuhu(na) – Kuhuna ōu pūtu
To enter, to insert – Put on your boots

In other words, you don’t put the clothes on you, you insert yourself inside of the clothes. Likewise, while some people tend to use tango(hia) for take off, Whanganui and others use unu(hia). You withdraw your body from your shoes, you don’t take the shoes.

Tango(hia) – Tangohia ōu pūtu
To take, to remove – Take off your boots

Unu(hia) – Unuhia ōu pūtu
To pull off/out – Take off your boots


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