Because every week is Te Wiki o Te Reo, here are some tools to keep you company on your te reo learning journey.
Ka taea te whakatika te reo hapa, tē taea te whakatika te reo ngū. You can fix language that is broken but you can’t fix language that is not spoken.
This whakatauākī teaches us that it’s OK to make mistakes and it’s OK to start at the beginning. It’s better than OK – it’s the very key to the revitalisation of our reo rangatira.
What better way than to immerse yourself using all of the modern tools at your disposal. Here we’ve compiled a list of te reo Māori online resources, that are easily accessible and cater to a range of ages, abilities and perspectives. But remember – the only way to learn a language is to speak! These will supplement your learning journey, but you’ll need to kōrero Māori with other human beings. You can check out our list of free or low cost beginner classes all over the country here.
Social media accounts
Our social media newsfeeds can look and sound like whatever we want – we are not passive consumers, but curators. For Māori, filling your timeline with people that share your values or look and sound like you is a great way to normalise everyday te reo and feel less alone when it seems everyone from our politicians to certain family members want you to feel like an outlier. For non-Māori, Mishell Baker, a fantasy writer from the US, offered this great advice on how to approach social media recently: follow 50 more POC, read their posts and don’t reply to them unless they’ve addressed you by name or asked a non-rhetorical question. “Certain things will gradually become clear to you that used to be extremely opaque and confusing… Social media gives us as unprecedented opportunity to just quietly listen and learn how things really are for people.”
Kaiako reo Hēmi Kelly offers short, regular beginner and intermediate lessons, as well as sharing whakataukī and other interesting tidbits. He has also recorded an Everyday Māori podcast which is no longer being updated but a great listen nevertheless. Find him on Instagram, or follow his A Māori Phrase a Day page on Facebook.
Reo Māori Mai
Re Māori Mai share clear and concise graphics-driven explanations of different words, phrases, root meanings, whakataukī and concepts in te ao Māori. They have also recently established an online reo speaking community that people can join to learn and practise with one another. Find them on Instagram.
The Mahuru Māori challenge is to speak more Māori (or only te reo Māori if you’re down for the challenge) for the month of September. An hour a day, half a day, all day, a week, the whole month. Find them on Instagram and at their website.
Some cool individuals we think you should follow:
Te Kuru Dewes on Instagram
Sonny Ngatai on Tiktok
Taurapa Matiu on Tiktok
Te Aorere Pewhairangi on Instagram
Teanau Tuiono aka Darthngapuhi on Tiktok
Jordynwithawhy on Instagram
Hahana on Instagram
Up to Speed
Up To Speed with Te Reo is a great snackable new podcast series from te reo Māori champion Stacey Morrison. Over 10 short episodes (think five minutes each), she helps you understand basic but easy to overlook Māori language phrases and words, in categories like food, dates and days, Māori names and dialects. Listen on Spotify.
Taringa is a weekly podcast made at Te Wānanga o Aoteroa. It’s not a “learn te reo” podcast, rather the hosts Paraone Gloyne, Erica Sinclair and Te Puaheiri Snowden explore te reo Māori at a more linguistic level, looking at regional dialects, whakataukī and tikanga, and how the language has evolved over time. Always fascinating and often funny. Listen on their website.
Back to Kura
Journalist and writer Shilo Kino and broadcaster Astley Nathan began their full-time te reo study this year at Auckland’s Te Wānanga Takiura and launched a podcast at the same time to record that journey. The pair are honest and vulnerable, and don’t gloss over the hard parts, which ultimately makes their progress and positivity all the more inspiring. Find them on Spotify.
This amazing audio book resource is all in te reo Māori. You can read along as you hear the stories (which range from adults’ to young adult to children’s books), plus it offers other resources and exercises. Even if you’re not fluent, it’s well worth listening to for mita and proper pronunciation.
Ki Tua covers current events and important issues all in te reo Māori featuring a wwho’s who of experts and leaders. Find it on Māori Television.
Te Aka Māori Dictionary
Watch and listen to a range of Māori content from around the motu (on your phone, laptop, anywhere, for free!). Also Whare Kōrero gives you access to all iwi radio content. This whare upholds the principles of Māori data sovereignty. All content remains under the guardianship of the original distributor. Download for iOS and Android here.
A Spark-sponsored app that uses the camera in your phone to instantly translate objects into te reo Māori. Just take a photo of an everyday object (or upload your own) and see it translated in real time. iOS Android.
Tatau is a handy Māori counting game that helps you not only learn the names for numbers but put the different elements together for longer ones. “Wha” meaning four is easy. 2,968 – rua mano iwa rau ono tekau mā waru – is much harder!
Tipu Te Reo Māori
Tipu Te reo Māori gamifies language learning – your teacher Koi takes you through challenges using vocabulary as well as sentence structure, balancing repetitiveness and variety to keep you engaged. iOS Android
He aha tēnei?
Aimed at children, this colourful game helps kids spell and sound out words. The voiceovers by actual kids are super cute! iOS Android
Paddle your waka and escape the taniwha by learning and identifying words and phrases. Once you’ve completed all four levels, play them again and challenge yourself to complete the levels in the quickest time possible with the fewest mistakes. iOS Android
TV and video
Māori Television is of course the best place to start – unless it’s one of their excellent international films, whatever you watch will either be all or partially in te reo Māori. But there are a number of shows that are for the sole purpose of learning te reo:
This Māori language series hosted by Pānia Papa, uses a range of language learning techniques, games, music and activities in te reo Māori. Watch it on Māori Television or listen to it in podcast form.
A Māori language class for intermediate-level learners, presented by Pānia Papa. Watch on Māori Television.
This kids show is fun, funny and will teach you lots before you’ve even realised it. Watch it on Māori Television.
Waka Huia is not only a beautiful way to hear our kaumātua speak, it’s also a really important historical document. The TV series started in 1988 as a way to record unique iwi histories, and continues today. Watch on NZ On Screen, Māori Television and TVNZ.
Made for Sky TV, Tiki Towns is a series of one minute short videos explaining the correct pronunciation of some of our Māori place names and the history of those names. Find it on Youtube.
Tōku Reo is a language learning show based on the comprehensive Te Whanake language course created by Professor John Moorfield. It’s a vibrant, and fun way of learning te reo Māori in the comfort of your own home. Watch it now here.
Those tireless champions Stacey and Scotty Morrison present this easy to use platform for Massey University. You can complete lessons on te reo Māori or tikanga Māori, which use video and interactive games and answer forms. Enrol for Toro Mai here.
Te Whanake cover a lot of different resources – their programme and textbooks are used in classrooms all over the country, both for students and teachers. But you don’t need the books, they also have videos, podcasts and other resources ranging from beginner to advanced. Check out their website here.
Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori
Also known as the Māori Language Commission, there are so many free te reo Māori resources and tools available on this website. Check them out. Te Taura Whiri is also spearheading the movement towards the goal of 1 million speakers of te reo Māori by 2040. Click here for more. You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook.