What a mouthful

He kai anō mō te waha… kīwaha that mention the mouth.

Māngai is a metaphor for a spokesperson (as is reo: voice). (It’s so common that lots of people don’t realise that it’s primary meaning is mouth and this usage is the metaphor) Mangai nui doesn’t refer to being a ‘big mouth’ but being an excellent orator.

Ka tū koe hei māngai mā tātou?
Will you stand as a spokesperson for us?

Te waha o Tāne is a euphemism for birdsong, particularly a chorus of many different birds.

Whakarongo ki te waha o Tāne e karanga ana ki a tāua.
Listen to sound of the forest calling to us.

Kākā waha nui is a metaphor for a loud voiced, talkative person. Kākā are incredibly raucous and chatter away for hours; even when most other birds’ instinct is to go quiet, kākā will screech in alarm.

Kotahi tāna inu, ka puta ia hei kākā waha nui.
It only takes one drink to turn him into a chatterbox.

Waha papā, waha rera and pākiwaha are all kīwaha for a boastful talkative person, a loud-mouth braggart, and kai a waha refers to his or her boastful speech.

He reka tāna mahi kai, e ai ki te pākiwaha.
His cooking is delicious, or so he reckons.

Koia kē pea te kai a tōna waha!
Perhaps that (his high opinion of himself) is food enough for him!

Wahahuka originally meant boasting and bombastic. A more recent meaning however is sweet-talker like the English idiom silver-tongued, i.e. their word is as valueless as froth

E kō, kia mataara ki ngā wahahuka i te ao
Girl, be aware of all the charmers in the world.

Waha hakirara means idling, trifling, or lying, i.e. whatever the annoying pain-in-the-arse says they can’t be believed or taken seriously.

I mea mai koe kua pau te tiakarete… tō waha hakirara!
You said that the chocolate had run out… fibber!

Waha kahawai is a metaphor for a glutton; all you fishermen out there will understand why.

Ko te āhua nei he waha kahawai tōu.
You eat as if you’ve got a kahawai’s mouth.

Tami waha refers to a relish, delicacy or treat; it can be used for anything from a canapé to a special meal.

I mauria mai e Pita he inanga hei tami waha mā tāua.
Pita brought over some whitebait as a special treat for us.


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