A Beginner’s kete to learning basic Māori language
Nau mai Haere mai, ‘Kōrero mai’
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 and 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.
- Kia ora
- Hello / Thank you
- Tenā Koe
- Formal greeting to one person
- Tenā korua
- Formal greeting to two people
- Tēna Koutou
- Formal greeting to many people
- E noho rā
- Goodbye (from a person leaving)
- E Haere rā
- Goodbye (from a person staying)
- Hei konei rā
- Goodbye (less formal)
- Ka kite anō
- See you again (informal goodbye)
- Good morning!
- Ata Marie
- Good Morning
- Pō Marie
- Good night!
- Haere Mai
- Welcome, enter
- Nau Mai
Other useful kupu (words)
- I don’t know
- Extended family
- Group of whanau descended from the same ancestor
- Tribe, nation
- Male or female elder/s
- Day / Sun
- E noho
- Sit down
- E tu
- Stand up
- E moe
- Go to sleep
- E kai
- Eat up
- Be quiet
- Wait up
- Kia tūpato
- Be careful
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?
A E H I K M N NG O P R T WH W U
The Māori alphabet is made up of ten consonants and five vowels
What do the lines above the letters mean?
The lines are called macrons, they indicate the way a vowel is pronounced: short or long.
Short sound as u in up: A E I O U a e i o u
Long sound as ar in far: Ā Ē Ī Ō Ū ā ē ī ō ū
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