Being kakama: Agile in Te Reo

I recently retook the one-day Executive Education Agile Fundamentals course at the University of Auckland with some colleagues.

For my workmates, it was the first time. But I learned more the second time around.

Being a newbie to project management, my learning this time around was because I now had a structure in my head for agile and because the terminology wasn’t new.

You can find links to my notes from the first time at the end of this post.

Speaking of terminology, or kupu, this brings me to some great work done by the team at Te Papa Tongarewa – The Museum of New Zealand.

They have translated the language of agile methodology in te reo Māori.

You can read about it on their blog here which also includes help with pronunciation.

If you want the highlights, read on. I’ve also linked to their poster and handout as well that has all the terminology.

These kupu (words and terminology) were developed by Te Papa’s Reo Māori Writer Ranea Aperahama and Digital Product and Operations Team.

These kupu (terminology) are available for anyone to use under a creative commons license.


te ararau o Tangaroa | kakama | he ringa miti tai heke | agile 

The hundred pathways of Tangaroa (spirit of adventure, orienteering); versatile, nimble, quick to adapt; a hand that licks up the ebb tide, experience in handling the canoe in strong tidal waters.

The board

papa kōrero | the board (often a whiteboard)

Board, surface, discussion; a place in which one delivers debate, dialogue. 

Stand up (meeting)

tū mai | stand up 

To be active, show, exhibit, express yourself. 


whakaputunga | backlog 

Pile, heap, collection, cache, corpus, archive, store, hoard, reserve, stockpile, supply, stash. 


ki mua | panuku | next 

The front, in front of, before, ahead. To move, move on. 


e mahi ana | doing 

Activity, exercise, operation, function. Used with verbs and ana to show action in progress. 


kua tārewa | blocked 

Something has changed from one state to another. To be unresolved, unsettled, undecided, unfinished, inconclusive, set aside, unpaid, delayed, deferred, set aside. 


kua oti | done 

Something has changed from one state to another. Be finished, accomplished, complete. 


tū mahi | chore 

Manner, sort, type of. Activity, exercise, operation, function. 


tū raru | risk 

Manner, sort, type of. Problem, trouble, conflict. 


kōkiri | initiate 

To thrust forward, attack, call, charge, rush forward, champion, lead, advocate. 


te ruirui | develop 

To shake to and fro (with the hand upright), sprinkle. To sprinkle seeds. 

High care

te āta morimori | high care 

Gently, slowly, carefully, clearly, deliberately, purposefully, intentionally, openly, thoroughly, cautiously, intently, quite. To nurse (an infant), caress, handle. 

Grow and sustain

whakatipu, whakarea | grow and sustain 

Cause to grow. To multiply. 

Design Sprint

ohia mano | design sprint 

To think (on the spur of the moment). Be innumerable. 

And in case you want to chase them up, here are my notes from the first time I did the course. I have reams of notes from the second time as well which I hope to post soon.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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