Taihape Area School



Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori has produced a series of booklets about 'Using Māori in the home'. If the Māori language is to flourish, it is important for us to speak it at home as often as we can, to provide Māori language examples and encouragement to our children.

We all know that to speak Māori can be hard work. But, we can make things easier for our children and ourselves if we make it fun and enjoyable.

Having fun with theMāori language

The Māori language is a taonga that gives our country its distinct and unique cultural indentity. For Māori to thrive as a language of everyday use, we must encourage its use in our homes and communities as much as possible.

Activities and Games

Here are a few suggestions for fun Māori language activities and games that you can play with your children, and some advice about how to get started. Some of the activities and games are more demanding than others, you and require more Māori language input from you. Try some of the activities. Take it one step at a time. In that way, you can help your children and at the same time gradually build up your own knowledge and confidence.

'Every endeavour, no matter the size, contributes to the growth of the Māori language.'


Waiata andRhymes

At Kōhanga Reo, school and elsewhere, children learn waiata, haka and rhymes. Encourage your children to sing these at home, and to learn new songs with you. You may wish to tape some of the Kōhanga Reo waiata, haka and rhymes so you have ready access to them at home.

You could try to encourage your children to learn their waiata while you're driving in the car. In some homes children and adults sing a waiata before they have their dinner.

Kapa Haka

For children who enjoy waiata and haka, you can videotape Kapa Haka programmes on television and replay them for your children. There are also many occasions when you can go to live performances at schools or at regional competitions.


At some Kōhanga Reo and schools, children learn to stand and talk about themselves; ko Marama tōku ingoa, ko Rahera tōku māmā. You can encourage your children to do this at home.


Ko (name) tōku ingoa
Ko (name) tōku māmā
Ko (name) tōku pāpā
Ko (name) tōku nanny
Ko (name) tōku koro

Ko (name) tōku iwi
Kei (placename) tōku kāinga
Ka haere au ki te Kōhanga Reo o (name)


Ritual Questions

By ritual questions, we mean questions that follow a set pattern, and are repeated many times; kei whea tō ihu?, kei whea tō whatu?, hei aha te ihu?, hei aha te whatu?

In some homes, children children ask these questions of the adults, and take great delight in correcting them when they make a mistake!

He aha tēnei?

What is this?

He ... tēnā.

This is a ... (Whatu,taringa,ihu,waha..)

He aha te kara o tēnei?

What colour is this?

He...te kara o tēnā.

It is ... (Whero,mā,pango,kowhai..)

Hei aha tēnei?

What is this for?

Hei ... tēnā.

It is for ... (Whakarongo,titiro,..)

Kei whea tō...?

Where is your ... (Potae,kanohi,pukapuka)

Kei konei tōku ...

Here is my ..



You can encourage your children to say karakia at mealtimes, and before going to sleep.


E Ihowa,
Whakapaingia ēnei kai
Hei oranga mō ō mātau tinana,
Wairua hoki

'Evening prayer'

E Ihowa
Tēnei e tuku nei i ō mātau hara kia murua
I tō atawhai me tō aroha.
Kei te inoi ki a koe,
Kia tiaki koe i a mātau
I tēnei pō, ā,
Hei te whitinga mai o te rā hou.



There are many children's books available in Māori that you can read to your children, or that you and your children can read together. These books cover a wide range of topics. Picture books are good opportunities to ask your children questions.


Planned outings

At some Kōhanga Reo and schools, whānau get together to plan weekend and holiday outings where they try to speak Māori as often as possible. These kinds of outings need to be organised, and often require parents to learn words and sentences associated with the outing; for example, te haere ki te toa, te haere ki te moana, te haere te ngahere.

Find out if there is a dairy or shop near you where the staff can speak Māori. Ask the staff if you can take your children there and encourage them to speak Māori. This will show the children that Māori. This will show the children that Māori is an important skill in the community.


Child-led activities

Children will identify and develop their own favourite activities. Share these with your children and introduce some Māori language into the conversations for example when they go swimming or when you go to the supermarket.


Board and Card Games

There are some simple board and card games for children that can be used to encourage Māori language use. These are packaged and presented in English, but you can use Māori language when you are playing the game. Ask at your local kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori to see what games they use.


If you have whānau and friends that speak Māori, invite them to your home and encourage them to play with your children. This shows the children different dialects or words used in particular tribal areas. It also shows them that Māori is a valuable skill.

Below are some simple ideas showing how you and your children can have fun with the Māori language. We're sure that each whānau has it's own special activities that encourage and support Māori language learning and development.

It is important to surround our children with the languages that we want them to learn and use. The more language we hear the more we will learn.

By reading this you have taken the first step towards introducing more Māori language into your home and life.

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori wants to support your family's efforts to learn and use the Māori language. Below is a short list of kupu whānui to help you get started...

KUPU WHĀNUI - general terms




Good morning


Come here


OK, good


Sit down


Leave that alone


Give me a kiss


Give me a hug


I really love you