Spring – kōanga
In the middle of a bunch of blossoming flowers is a raging bull. The spring has caused cow anger.
Summer – raumati
If you know anyone named Matthew (or Marty), imagine them rowing a boat really fast under the blazing summer sun while onlookers shout “Row Matty!”
Autumn – ngahuru
A line of prostitutes stand on a street under some falling leaves. The autumn leaves are falling near whores.
Winter – hōtoke
In the middle of a wintry snowstorm, a woman stands drinking a hot cocoa.
Morning – ata
A man wakes up in the morning and then devours a massive breakfast. He is the morning eater.
Afternoon/Evening – ahiahi
As the shadows begin to lengthen for the time period after noon, a crazy man watches the sun start to fall and laughs “Ah he he…”
Shadow – ātārangi
In the mountains, the Sun shines behind rocky outcropping and creates a lot of shadows. It is shadowy terrain.
Day – rā
The Sun shines on a sleeping lion in the middle of the day. The lion awakens, then roars.
Night – pō
A line of starving homeless people shambles through a city at night. One of them says “We are poor.”
Season – kaupeka
Through all four seasons of sunshine, wind, rain and snow, a giant chicken stands and pecks a cow. The cow never reacts, just watches the passing seasons with the cow pecker.
Dawn – ata hāpara
In the dim light of dawn, a man stuffs his face with food with one hand and plays a harp with the other. The dawn breaks on the eater harper.
Dusk – kākarauri
As the Sun is setting at dusk, a flock of crows lands on a parked car. The dusk wraps around the car crows.
The above is an excerpt from the upcoming Learn Maori Vocabulary With Mnemonics, by Jeff Ngatai, due to be published by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2017/18.