Definition of ariki in English:



  • A Maori chief or high priest.

    ‘the ariki wear a feathered cloak on special marae occasions’
    • ‘This ensured no less than the maintenance of the tapu or sacred status of ariki, chiefs and people of rank.’
    • ‘A Maori village consisted of those of chiefly rank (rangatira), the main chief (ariki), the main body of the village and a small group of slaves.’
    • ‘Under the influence of English missionaries Maori customs began to change, eventually leading to daughters of deceased ariki, mataiapo and rangatira being given the right to hold a title.’
    • ‘Nothing perhaps evidences this better than the four great chiefs or ariki.’
    • ‘That he was a great ariki is beyond doubt.’
    • ‘It was made up of different-ranking members, headed by chiefs called ariki and rangatira.’
    • ‘He was designated as our admired ariki.’
    • ‘He asked that a council of ariki or bluebloods from other iwi be set up to talk with and advise the King.’
    • ‘It is about he being the acceptable Maori candidate and the biggest ariki in the caucus.’
    • ‘The principal wives of a great lord (ariki) strangled themselves.’


Mid 19th century: Maori.