|Haere mai and welcome to the November kōrero column. Ngeru is a commonly used word for cat in te reo Māori (it is also known as poti, puihi or tori).
This introduced animal is the most popular pet in Aotearoa, where we have a total population of 1.2 million domestic cats. Just over a third of Māori households have at least one cat, and Māori cat-lovers are quite fond of purebreds — Asian NZers are most likely to own a purebred, with Māori second in line, and then European NZers.
Cats are good hunters, and have been valued through history for catching pests such as rats, mice and rabbits. However the large numbers of feral cats in this country pose a serious risk to endangered birds, lizards and insects.
In terms of Māori tradition, there is a popular string game, known in te reo as whai or maui, and in English as the cat’s cradle. A long circle of flax string is looped over the hands and the fingers are used to weave complicated patterns. Sometimes the pattern would be so complicated it would take two or three people to hold it, and often a chant accompanied the finger movements.
Kupu hou (new word)
More words related to ngeru:
E mihi ana ki a Titihuia Pakeho rāua ko Mairi Lucas.
November 23, 2023
Ngeru — cat