Speaking Māori at Home

Hei Tautoko i tō Tamaiti


  • Make Māori language fun and relevant to your lives - fill your home with Māori language books, games, posters, tapes of songs and nursery rhymes, videos, CDs, DVDs. Check out your local library, bookshops and visit the Reostore.

  • Give your child Māori language books, cds or games as birthday and/or Christmas gifts.

  • Play Māori music in your home.

  • Video Māori language television programmes to watch together over and over again!

  • Take your child/ren to as many places as possible where you know other Māori speakers will be present and the language can be spoken naturally. For example, events held by a local language community group, the marae, openings of kura kaupapa Māori, Māori concerts, and kapa haka competitions.

  • Encourage friends and family to talk as much as possible in Māori with your child.

  • Invite other Māori speaking families or children over to visit.

  • Read books on bilingualism: 'Kei Roto i te Whare' has useful information to start with. Become knowledgeable about the benefits of bilingualism and the effects of poor language exposure and poor language quality.

  • Point out the benefits of speaking Māori.

  • Consider Māori-medium education options as a way of ensuring that your child continues to speak Māori on a daily basis, and undertakes deeper thinking in Māori.

One Parent, One Language


If you are in the situation where one parent or caregiver is a fluent Māori speaker and the other isn't, one strategy you might consider is known as "one parent, one language". In this scenario, both languages are used right from birth with one parent/caregiver speaking Māori and the other speaking English (or another language). If you choose this method, be consistent - the Māori speaking parent must always use and be responsible for Māori language in your child's life, while the other concentrates on the English language. Avoid mixing and matching the languages – all this does is provide poor quality examples of both languages. So, if you are the Māori speaking parent, make sure you only speak Māori to your child and provide him/her with lots of Māori language books, music, games and ideally, Māori speaking friends.