Learning Māori

Māori to New Zealand are like Native Americans to the U.S. they differ however in their languages. The Native Americans have many different languages and more space to move around. Māori only have one language, te reo Māori. Since the relationship between the Māori and Britain has allowed this language to be taught at my uni (university), I thought why not. So I took and completed MAOR 101 – Introduction to te reo Māori.


Like any other introductory language course, it incorporated listening (whakarongo), speaking (kōrero), writing (tuhi), and reading (rīti). For me the hardest part was whakarongo because there are so many little articles and minor difference in sentence structure, it was difficult to discern. To work on this, our instructor would describe a scene and whoever’s picture came out the same, did a good job of listening.


The most challenging assignment was having to write an essay in te reo Māori about my family. It had a minimum of 280 words and could not go over 400. Here is what I turned in.


Ko Koenig te ingoa o tō mātou whānau. (The name of my family is Koenig) Kei Washinton tōku whānau. (My family live in Washington) Ko Rāwiri tōku matua ā ko Julie tōku whaea. (My father’s name is David[Rāwiri] and my mother’s name is Julie) Kei Washington rāua, enagri nō California rāua. (They live in Washington but are from California) Ko William tōku tungāne. (William in my younger brother) Kei Washington ia. (He is in Washington) Ko whaea pai a Julia. (Julie is a good mom) He wahine tino ātaahua tōku whaea. (My mother is very beautiful) Ko whakarīrā whakamahi a Rāwiri. (David is a hard worker) E maha ōna waka. (He has many cars) He roa ko Rāwiri rāua ko William. (David and William are tall) He rima tekau mā rima a Rāwiri ā he rima tekau mā toru a Julie. (David is 55 and Julie is 53) He tekau mā whā a William ā he rua tekau mā tahi ahau. (William is 14 and I am 21) Kāore ōku tuāhine. (I don’t have any sisters) E mau ana māua ko Julie i ngā mōhiti. (Julie and I wear glasses) Kaore ko Rāwiri raua ko Willliam ana I nga mōhiti. (David and William do not wear glasses)


He nēhi tōku whaea. (My mother is a nurse) He kaiaka mīhini tōku matua. (My father is a mechanic) E mahi ana ia mō Ford. (He works for Ford) E haere ana tōku tungāne ki te kura. (My brother goes to school) Ehara ia i tino pai tauira enagri he koi te hinengaro ia. (He is not a good student but he has a sharp mind)

E tunu ana maha tōku whaea ā ko ia tunu tino pai.  (My mother cooks a lot and she makes good food) E aroha ana ia ki te tunu ā e aroha ana ia ki te rīti. (She loves to cook and she loves to read) Me whakatika a William i tāna rūma moe, nā te mea i te nuinga o te wa he porohe tāna ruma. (William should tidy his room because most of the time his room is a mess) He tungāne pai ia, engari i ētahi wā ehara ia i te tama pai. (He is a good brother but sometimes not a good son. Engari e aroha ana mātou ki ia. (But we love him) He tino hoa maua ko William. (William and I are good friends)


E maha mātou mōkai. (We have many pets) E toru mātou ngeru, e rua mātou hurī ā e maha mātou ika. (We have three cats, two dogs and many fish) Kei Washington ngā mōkai. (The pets are in Washington) E rua mātou hurī, engari kaua e hīkoi I ngā hurī. (We have two dogs but we don’t walk the dogs) Me hīkoi rātou I ngā hurī nā te mea kei Aotearoa ahau. (They should walk the dogs because I am in New Zealand) Kotahi tōku mātua ngeru. (My parents have one cat) Kotahi tōku tungāne ngeru ā kotahi tāku ngeru. (My brother has one cat and I have one cat) Ko Cole te ingoa i te ngeru o William a ko Hippie to ingoa i te ngeru o mātua. (Cole is the name of William’s cat and Hippie is the name of my parent’s cat) Ko Starla raua ko Twilla te ingoa i nga huri o matua. (Starla and Twilla are the names of our dogs) Kaore ika nga ingoa. (The fish don’t have names)


Basically it describes who my family is, where they are from and what they do.

I must have done well because my grade back was a B.


Learning the language really helped me understand more of the culture and appreciate the diversity we have in this world. I suggest to those going somewhere new, learn the language!

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