Main definitions of matai in English

: matai1matai2

matai1

noun

  • A coniferous New Zealand tree which yields pale timber.

    • ‘The lush branches of the totara, matai and kahikatea trees blocked out all remaining light and I was left alone in a dark, unfamiliar forest.’
    • ‘It's mainly heart rimu, with a matai floor and a totara frontage.’
    • ‘If you walk up through Talbot Forest you will be in native forest with fine totara, matai and kahikatea and you will hear the calls of native birds, especially the trilling song of the grey warbler.’
    • ‘At the summit is a further loop track through virgin forest with an impressive stand of matai, rimu and totara.’
    • ‘Trees in the bush include kahikitea, rimu, thin-barked totara, matai and miro.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: from Maori.

Pronunciation:

matai

/ˈmatʌɪ/

Main definitions of matai in English

: matai1matai2

matai2

noun

  • (in a Samoan extended family or clan) the person who is chosen to succeed to a chief's or orator's title and honoured as the head of the family.

    ‘the chairs were used only by the pastor and visiting matai’
    • ‘I know that the Samoan people honoured him by bestowing a matai title of Tagaloa.’
    • ‘Actually, a taito's role relates to more than a village; it is not that of a matai.’
    • ‘Samoan villages are equally complex in their structure, with a plethora of different levels of matai, or chiefs.’
    • ‘Before the arrival of missionaries in 1830, Tagaloa was recognized as the creator of the islands and their people and matai served as family religious leaders.’
    • ‘Resident members live in clusters of households within the village, share some facilities and equipment, and work on family-land controlled by the matai.’

Origin

Samoan.

Pronunciation:

matai

/ˈmatʌɪ/