taipo (plural taipos)

  1. (New Zealand) An evil spirit.
  2. (New Zealand) A goblin.

Usage notesEdit

The use of this word arose in the 19th century. It is interesting because Maori used it thinking it was English and the early English settlers used it thinking it was Maori.[1]


  • 1905. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1868-1961, vol. 38, page 132:
    They are called taipos, or devils. If a Maori went fishing or birding between them in the Maungapakeha Valley, he might fail to get either birds or eels. The reason was that the Tinui taipo was angry, and would say to the Maungapakeha taipo, “This man has offended me; he shall catch no more eels or birds to-day.”