Beginner’s kete to learning basic Māori language

Nau mai Haere mai, ‘Kōrero mai’

A beginners kete to learning basic Māori language [805 KB PDF]
Aotearoa New Zealand is the only place in the world where Te Reo Māori is spoken as an indigenous language. This makes it a taonga/ treasure unique to this country which deserves our protection and nourishment.

Christchurch City Libraries / Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi values the role it has in supporting this important kaupapa (topic). We encourage you to learn to speak te reo Māori and have created this basic kete to get you started.

Greetings

Kia ora
Hello / Thank you
Tēnā koe
Formal greeting to one person
Tēnā kōrua
Formal greeting to two people
Tēnā koutou
Formal greeting to many people
E noho rā
Goodbye (from a person leaving)
Haere rā
Goodbye (from a person staying)
Hei kōnei rā
Goodbye (less formal)
Ka kite anō
See you again (informal goodbye)
Mōrena
Good morning
Ata mārie
Good morning
Pō mārie
Good night
Haere mai
Welcome, enter
Nau mai
Welcome
Ngā mihi nui
With best wishes

Other useful kupu (words)

Kia Ora!Āe
Yes
Kāo
No
Aua
I don’t know
Whānau
Extended family
Hapū
Group of whānau descended from the same ancestor
Iwi
Tribe, nation
Kaumātua
Male or female elder/s
Whakapapa
Genealogy
Day / sun
Night / darkness
E noho
Sit down
E tū
Stand up
E moe
Go to sleep
E kai
Eat up
Whakarongo
Listen
Tītiro
Look
Turituri
Be quiet
Kāti
Stop
Taihoa
Wait up
Kia tūpato
Be careful
Kia kaha
Be strong

Correct pronunciation indicates a bicultural awareness and respect for Māori culture. Go to our bilingual signs pages to listen to some pronunciation examples.

What does the Māori alphabet look like?

The Māori alphabet is made up of ten consonants and five vowels:

A E H I K

M N NG O P

R T U W WH

What do the lines above the vowels mean?

The lines are called macrons; they indicate the way a vowel is pronounced: short or long.

Short sound: A/a (as in up); E/e (as in pen); I/i (as in eat); O/o (as in fork); U/u (as in you)

Long sound: Ā/ā (as in far); Ē/ē (as in peel); Ī/ī (as in heel); Ō/ō (as in your); Ū/ū (as in roof)

Consonants

Most sound similar to the English sound but there are several that need special attention and practice e.g.

r is very short and slightly rolled
wh is pronounced as f
ng is pronounced as the ng in singer

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