For many of New Zealand’s indigenous plants, the Māori name is the ‘common’ name, and English names are rarely, if ever, used; think rimu, tōtara, kauri, pōhutukawa, and mamaku.
Other species have both Māori and English names, but it is the latter that is predominant, at least in my experience. Below are some such examples involving common and likely familiar plants.
Because it is Māori Language Week, perhaps you can look out for these plants and put their Māori name to use. How many can you spot (and name in te reo) this week?!
(Common names are hard to define. Some plants have multiple Māori and/or English names, sometimes with regional variation. Not all are recorded in the mainstream literature. I use the A Dictionary of Maori Plant Names by James Beever (1991, Auckland Botanical Society) as my guide to Māori names for plants.)
tī kōuka, cabbage tree, Cordyline australis
whauwhaupaku, five finger, Pseudopanax arboreus
tarata, lemonwood, Pittosporum eugenoides
tawhai, beech, Fuscospora and Lophozonia (was Nothofagus)
porokaiwhiri, pigeonwood, Hedycarya arborea
pāpāuma, broadleaf, Griselinia littoralis
huruhuruwhenua, shining spleenwort, Asplenium oblongifolium