Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori - Māori Language Week

Māori Language Week is an initiative intended to encourage New Zealanders to promote the use of the Māori language, which, along with New Zealand Sign Language, is an official language of NZ.

The Māori language consists of five vowel sounds:

  • a (‘a’ as in ‘car’)
  • e (‘e’ as in ‘egg’)
  • i (‘i’ like the ‘ee’ in ‘tee’)
  • o (‘o’ as in ‘four’)
  • u (‘u’ like an ‘o’ in ‘loot’)

Vowels can be long or short. A long vowel is signified with a macron above it.

There are eight consonants in Māori, similar to those in English — h, k, m, n, p, r, t, and w. There are also two different consonants — ‘wh’ and ‘ng’. Many Māori pronounce the ‘wh’ sound similar to the English ‘f’. The ‘ng’ is similar to the ‘ng’ sound in English words like ‘sing’, except that in Māori, words can start with ‘ng’.

If you’d like to learn more, here are a few things to check out:

Maimoa.nz for calligraphy prints of whakataukī (proverbs) and karakia (prayer)