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How to use the word Pai

Pai Shorts Sewing Pattern by Below the Kōwhai

You can use the word Pai in your everyday language at home, here’s how:

Pai is the te reo Māori word for good.

Our Pai Shorts sewing pattern work and fit every time, that’s why they’re called the Pai Shorts. They’re just good.

Pai Shorts Sewing Pattern by Below the Kōwhai


Video Transcript:

Kiaora koutou katoa

My name is sophie and I am the sewing pattern designer behind Below the Kōwhai.

We use a lot of te reo Māori language in our business, so I wanted to share this video with you to help you pronounce, practice and use te reo Māori in your own home.

Today’s video is going to be on the word Pai.

Pai in te reo Māori means good.

I chose it for todays video because we have a sewing patterns called the Pai Shorts. I named them that because they are just good shorts. They work every time and they fit every time. It seemed fitting to call them good shorts. Pai Shorts.

Pronounce pai like apple pie in english.

I’m going to teach you three particles today, when mixed with pai will give you endless ways to use te reo Māori in your own home.

Ka pai

Ka is a particle that implies past, present and future tense. It’s like something exists, the goodness exists in this instance.

You would just this a lot with children when praising them for good work or achieving something, or celebrating. You would say ka pai!

You could mix it in with something to be a bit more specific, like “ka pai tō mahi” (very good work). But ka pai on it’s own is sufficient aswell.

Say it with me, ka pai.

Throw in ka pai all around your home to encourage your family. Say it so many times it just rolls off your tongue as a natural response to anything good.

Ka pai.

Kei te pai

Kei is for the present tense marker. It is for this moment here and now.

If someone asks how you are “kei te pehea koe?” . They’re saying “In this moment, how are you?” you could respond “kei te pai”. Right now, it’s good.

If someone asks you “how are you?” in English, you can also respond “Kei te pai“.

Kei te pai can also be a question by changing your tone? “kei te pai?

I use this one a lot to check in with my children.

Kei te pai can also be used in a colloquial way. Here in New Zealand we often use the phrase “no worries”, in response to being thanked or asked for something. This is kind of like a replacement for that.

Do you want your receipt? Kei te pai.

Would you like some water? Kei te pai.

Thanks for sewing this dress! Kei te pai.

It’s sort of like a brushing off of a thanks, making it really casual. It’s saying “at this moment, no worries it’s all good.”

Try it now : Kei te pai.

Ka pai!

Kia pai.

Kia is a particle for the future. It’s wishing something for the future, or literally “to be” something.

I use this one a lot when my children are off to school.

Kia pai te rā!

Which literally translated means Be good the day. But conversationally means Have a good day!

Try it now with me: Kia pai te rā. Kia pai te rā.

Kia pai te rā, have a good day.

You can swap out pai for other things too.

Kia tūpato (be careful)

Kia pōturi (be slow)

Kia tere (be fast) (that ones used a lot in our home too!)

So it’s saying to be something for the future. Be careful, be slow, be fast, be good.

Let’s go over those 3 particles again.

Ka pai = something is good

Kei te pai = in this moment it’s good

Kia pai = for the future, to be good.

I hope this has helped you learn some (maybe) new te reo Māori or to encourage you to practice and speak it in your own home.

Kia kaha i te reo Māori! Be strong in the language!

Learn more:

For more on the Māori language, see our “how to use the word Awhi” video to learn how to ask for a kiss and cuddle.

Or, join our VIP Community to share your BTK sewing and for exclusive access to behind the scenes content.

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