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.
Before you learn the phrases below, here’s some tips on pronunciation.
What are the Letters in the Māori Alphabet?
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
How to Pronounce Māori 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 the Māori 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
5 Simple Māori Email Signatures
- Nā (From)
- Ngā mihi (Kind regards)
- Mā te wā (See you later)
- Noho ora mai (Stay well)
- Kia pai tō rā (Have a great day)
Te Reo Māori Numbers From 1 – 10
1 = Tahi
2 = Rua
3 = Toru
4 = Whā
5 = Rima
6 = Ono
7 = Whitu
8 = Waru
9 = Iwa
10 = Tekau
25 Common Māori Words to use at Home
- aroha (love)
- awa (river)
- hīkoi (walk)
- hui (gathering, meeting)
- iti (small)
- iwi (tribe)
- kai (food)
- karakia (prayer)
- kaumatua (elder)
- mahi (work or activity)
- manuhiri (guests, visitors)
- moana (sea)
- motu (island)
- nui (large, many, big)
- puku (belly, stomach)
- taihoa (to delay, to wait)
- tama (son, young man)
- tamāhine (daughter)
- tipuna/ tupuna (ancestor )
- wahine (woman, wife)
- wai (water)
- waiata (song or chant)
- whaikōrero (the art and practise of speech-making )
- whānau (extended family)
- whenua (land, homeland)
22 Easy Māori Phrases to use at Home
Here are 17 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 5 more fun phrases below to learn and impress those around you!
Toitū te reo! (Hold fast to the language!)
- Ata mārie (Good morning)
- Pō Mārie (Good night)
- Kei te pēhea koe? (How are you?)
- Kei te pai (I am well)
- Ka rawe to mahi e hoa (Good work my friend)
- Tino pai te rangi, nē rā? (Lovely day, isn’t it?)
- Haere mai ki konei (Come over here)
- He kawhe māu? (Would you like a coffee)
- Tēnā homai he kaputi (Please give me a cup of tea)
- I pēhea tāu kai?(What was your food like?)
- Kei te pēhea koe? (How are you?)
- Māku e āwhina (I will help)
- Kei te aroha au ki a koe (I love you!)
- He aha māu? (What would you like?)
- Mā mātou e horoi ngā rīhi (We’ll wash the dishes)
- Horoia ō ringaringa (Wash your hands)
- Ka kite anō (See you again)
5 Fun Māori Phrases you Can Try at Home Too!
- Next time you’re looking for your car, try: “Kei hea tōku waka?” (Where is my waka?)
- If your brother or sister does something alarming, say “Waea atu ki te Pirihimana!” (Call the police!)
- Creep up behind someone and say “Taukiri e!” (Surprise!)
- Try to get your parents to go to the supermarket – “Kua pau katoa ngā pihikete” (the biscuits are gone!)
- If someone’s stretching the truth a bit, say “He moemoeā!” (You’re dreaming!)
Māori Kai Bingo Game – An easy way to grow your te Reo at home
Try out our free printable Bingo designed to help your family learn common food related words in Māori. Simply download a copy of the free Maori Kai Bingo game here.
How to play Māori Kai Bingo Game
- Each Player has their own game board (download the gameboards above).
- One person is the caller. The caller uses the calling cards to call out a food source in Māori to the other players.
- If a player has the food then they can cover up that food.
- The first person to cover 3 items in a row wins, or you can play the first person to cover their whole board wins.
- Easy 🙂
How to play the extended version of Māori Kai Bingo Game
- Rules are the same as the above, except instead of having a caller, players must go around the house and identify different foods (from the fridge, pantry, fruitbowl etc) and mark them off on their board.
- If no player completes a whole board (because the foods are missing from the home), then the game continues until that kai is brought into the house!
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, and this is 100 Maori words every New Zealander should know.
Ka kite anō! (I’ll see you again!)