Te Reo in the Whare

Kia ora!

It’s Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) from September 10-16, and what a great opportunity that is for us all to celebrate and learn the beautiful Māori language. Kia kaha te reo Māori …

But what about if you’ve not got the time right now to learn a new language? What about if you’re so busy with work and whānau and friends that the idea of having to learn new words and new sentence structures is just way too hard. Well guess what, e hoa mā – it doesn’t have to be scary. You and your whānau can start on your reo journey from within the comfort of your own whare.

Everyday items around the house

What are some household objects you use all the time? What sorts of clothing and food items do you always have in the wardrobe or fridge? Find out the te reo Māori words for these items, and use them every day:

  • Where are my hū (shoes)?
  • I’ll meet you out at the waka (car)
  • Would you like some rīwai (potatoes)?

Keen to find out some common Māori kupu? Check out First Thousand Words in Māori or First Words in Māori.

Cover of First Thousand Words in Māori Cover of First Words in Māori

Instructions

You can use te reo Māori to give instructions to your tamariki and other whānau members. Do you feel a bit self-conscious, or think they mightn’t understand you? Guess what? You don’t need to worry about this anymore – there are lots of ways of giving instructions that you might already know, or that you can use with gestures to make sure that people can understand what you’re saying:

  • Whakarongo mai (Listen to me) – touch your ear
  • Haere mai (Come here) – beckon
  • Kia kaha (Be strong)

Cover of The Raupō phrasebook of modern MāoriScotty Morrison’s The Raupō Phrasebook of Modern Māori  has a great chapter on phrases and questions that you can use around the home, as well as lots of other useful phrases you can use at work, school, or play when you start feeling more confident.

Read books

Having some easy Māori language books at home is a great way to pick up some basic Māori words without even trying. If you’ve got tamariki – children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even little next-door neighbours – get them together for a reading session. With so many children’s books available in te reo, you’ll be learning new words before you know it.

Have a look for Māori translations of old favourites, like Te Pāmu o Koro Meketānara (Old MacDonald had a Farm), or new stories like the Bud.e Pānui books for people just starting to read in Māori. And if you don’t quite feel confident enough to jump straight into full Māori books just yet, you can always try picture books with singalong CDs so you don’t need to worry if you don’t say the word absolutely right.

Cover of Te Rua Rāpeti Cover of Te Pāmu o koro Meketānara

Sing songs

Tamariki can also help you to learn some Māori by sharing the songs they learn at school.

  • Mā is white, Whero is red – learn the Māori names for colours
  • Mahunga, pakihiwi – have fun playing heads, shoulders, knees and toes

Check out Anika Moa’s two Songs for Bubbas CDs or Waiata Mai: Sing along with Aunty Bea to get started.

Use tools

Are you worried there are too many new words for you to actually remember any of them? Don’t worry – the folks at the Māori Language Commission have your back, and want to support you this Māori Language Week. Check out their collection of useful information and phrases, and find out more about Māori language and culture. They’ve even created some special resources for this year, so why not have a look at them, and challenge yourself to buy a coffee or a ticket for your ride to work, or find out what the wifi password is at your local cafe.

So take the plunge this Māori Language Week – kia kaha te reo – and include some Māori kupu into your conversations with these everyday words. Even by starting off with just a few words a day, you’ll start to build up a kete of Māori kupu to use in everyday conversations, and you’ll become more confident to use those words outside the whare. Over time, there will be more people using more te reo in all areas of daily life, and that is what we need for a strengthened, healthy, Māori language.

Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria – My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul.

Find out more

Throughout Te Wiki o te Reo Māori we’ll be blogging about ways you can help strengthen the reo.

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