Noa. without restraint, spontaneously, gratuitously, without consideration or arguement, at random, without object, idly, without occupation, fruitlessly, in vain, as soon as, already, just, merely.

Ah, noa. Noa is what I think of as a shy, ho-hum kind of word. Sometimes it’s modest and self-deprecating, but it’s also wishy-washy, timid and indecisive. If tonu intensifies things, and rawa takes them to extreme, then noa hides by the buffet and fades into the wallpaper.

So, how are you?

Pai tonu, “Pretty good mate”
Pai rawa, “I’m fantastic!”
Pai noa, “Um… alright I guess.”

You can translate this type of noa as merely or simply. You can also use just, but make sure it’s the weak “just an idea” and not the strong “just horrible”. To make noa even smaller and more insignificant, you can pair it with iho.

I te whakaaro noa…
I merely thought…

Kei te pai, he nawe noa iho
It’s okay, it’s just a wee bleb

Noho noa ngā koroua i te pāka.
The old fullas simply sit around in the park.

However there are other common translations of noa which – at first glance – seems to be quite different. These are the words such as spontaneously and freely.

Puta noa te tāne i te rūma.
The guy suddenly got up and left the room.

But if you think about it, to do something spontaneously is to do it without a big fuss and bother. No discussion, no argument, no fanfare or warning. You just get up and do it.

Puta noa te tāne i te rūma.
The guy simply got up and left the room.

Kaua e pūkana mai! I hinga noa taua mea.
Don’t look at me! That thing just fell over all by itself.

Similarly we sometimes will do something for no particular reason and we don’t really get anywhere. We’ll do it for it’s own sake, just ‘cos.

E hīkoi noa ana ngā hīpi.
The sheep are meandering around.

I homai noa ki ahau!
They just gave it to me for free!

Rapu noa, rapu noa…
Looking and looking… (and not finding)

I haere noa a Pāpā ki Pātea.
Dad took off to Pātea for no reason.

Noa is a bit more difficult than the first two words in our series because it has so many more possible translations. It’s definitely one you have to listen for until you get that “ah-ha” moment.

Coming soon: .


One thought on “Noa

  1. Pingback: Rawa | upokopakaru

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