I'm Not a Māori Speaker

Hei tautoko i tō tamaiti


Show your support by:

  • using as many Māori words and phrases as you can and that you know are correct. Concentrate on using common words and phrases that are used routinely in everyday activities. For example, words and phrases related to food and mealtimes, clothing and getting dressed, language of affection, bedtime and bath time routines, sayinga karakia etc.

  • expanding your repertoire of Māori language phrases - add another phrase each week and always use that phrase in Māori. Kei Roto I Te Whare has many useful phrases for everyday use.

  • printing off some phrases and posting them in suitable spots around your home.

  • taking your child to the library to borrow Māori language books, DVDs, CDs, and puzzles.

  • doing a Māori language course.

  • looking at our online learning programme. It takes only 10 minutes or so to complete each section and it focuses on providing language for you and your child/ren. Best of all, you can access it when you are ready, free of charge!

  • encouraging Māori speaking friends to talk in Māori with your child.

  • learning Māori with your child - learning the language together can fun and will encourage family language bonding.

  • ask your child to help you with translating words and phrases

  • purchasing Māori language games and resources as gifts for your child.

  • being enthusiastic about your child learning to speak Māori - watch Māori language kids tv programmes together, ask them to sing waiata, show you their work, encourage them to talk about what happened in their day and give lots of praise for their attempts to communicate with you in Māori.

  • identifying one everyday activity at a time that can be done in Māori eg, greeting each other in the morning, karakia at mealtimes, answering the telephone, bedtime reading etc.

  • building a library of Māori language tapes (video/dvd and audio) - it will be an invaluable source of Māori language that you can share with your child.

  • taking responsibility to find out all the Māori words needed for a particular game or activity your child enjoys, for example, playing in the sand pit, blowing bubbles, cricket, rugby etc.

  • becoming knowledgeable about bilingualism and its benefits - read books, search the web. 


Some other tips:

  • Ensure your child knows that you are proud that he/she speaks Māori.

  • Have a Māori language children’s dictionary and the publication Kei Roto i te Whare available all the time at home and refer to these books often.

  • Avoid translating into English the Māori words and phrases you use with your child. This makes talking together really slow and unnatural and is likely to be frustrating for your child. It also gives your child a message that Māori is less important than English because everything you say in Māori needs to be said in English too.

  • Don't worry that your child will not learn to speak English - that is almost impossible in New Zealand. They will learn English despite any efforts you make at home to encourage them to speak Māori only!  What is important is that the English that they hear and/or read is good quality English. Just like it is important that they hear and read good quality Māori. 

  • Check out the strategies and tips at Speaking Māori at home.