Fun Māori phrases to use at home with your family

arohatiatereo

27 July to 2 August marks Māori Language Week 2015.  This year we commemorate 40 years of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) – what an amazing achievement!

Te Reo Māori is one of New Zealand’s three official languages (the other is New Zealand Sign Language) and Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is a great opportunity to build your language skills and learn some fun Māori phrases to use at home with your family.

Pronunciation of Te Reo Māori

The Māori alphabet has fewer letters than the English alphabet. The letters in the Māori alphabet are:

The five vowels: a, e, i, o, u

The eight consonants: h, k, m, n, p, r, t, w

The two digraphs (two letters that combine to form one sound): wh, ng

Vowels

The trick to pronouncing Māori is correct vowel pronunciation. Each vowel in Māori can be pronounced short or long and a macron is used to indicate a long vowel – ā, ē, ī, ō, ū. Here’s a guide to pronouncing theMāori vowels:

a – as in car
e – as in peck
i – as in fee, me, see
o – as in awe (not ‘oh!’)
u – as in boot

Fun Māori phrases to use at home with your family

Here are ten simple phrases you can use around the home.  Even if you put into practice one or two, you’ll be expanding your Te Reo vocabulary and that’s a great achievement.  Ka rawe!  (That’s excellent!)

There are also five fun phrases below to learn and impress those around you!

Toitū te reo! (Hold fast to the language!)

  1. Tino pai te rangi, nē rā? (Lovely day, isn’t it?)
  2. Haere mai ki konei (Come over here)
  3. Tēnā homai he kaputi (Please give me a cup of tea)
  4. I pēhea tāu kai?(What was your food like?)
  5. Kei te pēhea koe? (How are you?)
  6. Māku e āwhina (I will help)
  7. Kei te aroha au ki a koe (I love you!)
  8. He aha māu? (What would you like?)
  9. Mā mātou e horoi ngā rīhi (We’ll wash the dishes)
  10. Horoia ō ringaringa (Wash your hands).

 Here are a few phrases you can have a bit of fun with too!

  1. Next time you’re looking for your car, try: “Kei hea tōku waka?” (Where is my waka?)
  2. If your brother or sister does something alarming, say “Waea atu ki te Pirihimana!” (Call the police!)
  3. Creep up behind someone and say “Taukiri e!” (Surprise!)
  4. Try to get your parents to go to the supermarket – “Kua pau katoa ngā pihikete” (the biscuits are gone!)
  5. If someone’s stretching the truth a bit, say “He moemoeā!” (You’re dreaming!)

Develop your skills further in speaking Te Reo

If you think your pronunciation might benefit from listening to some words and phrases, here is Radio New Zealand’s collection of greetings with audio tracks.

Find some printable resources with pictures of everyday objects and their Maori words on this link.

Find out more about Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week)

The Kiwi Families Team

This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

Join 26,491 families and growing

As we build a strong community of like minds:

  • Get the best tips from the best experts
  • Recipes, parties, crafts and activities
  • Special offers, competitions and more...

Sit back and relax and let us deliver to your inbox.

You might also be interested in:

Māori Language Week

Māori Language Week is a week where New Zealanders both here and overseas are encouraged to recognise and practice the…

Kohanga Reo

At Kohanga Reo all education and instruction is delivered in te reo maori (Maori language).  Learn more about Kohanga Reo and…

Learning Te Reo Māori

One of the things that makes Aotearoa/New Zealand special is the Māori culture and language. Although it is only spoken…

Festivals

Here’s a useful summary of festivals, events and public holidays in New Zealand as well as the  2014 and 2015…

Welcome to Kiwi Families

We bring 26,491 families together to learn from each other.

Join a community raising great kids: