Introduction on how to speak Maori

learning Maori
learning Maori

Learning Māori can be very easy once you know how. With the help of this guide you will understand how easy it is. Pretty much the language was documented by the Europeans, so it’s spelled pretty much the way you say it. This guide is designed to help inform you of how to speak Māori, but it’s not a definitive guide. Please take this as a guide only.

The Maori Language follows the simple, say what you see principal, for example:

Caw – as in what the Crows say
Why – as in Why not
Tore – as in Tore up the contract
Ing – as in Sing
Oh – as in Oh dear
Ah – as in Ah choo!
Common Sounds

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The Māori alphabet has 15 distinct sounds which includes
five vowels: a, e, i, o, u
eight consonants: h, k, m, n, p, r, t, w
two digraphs: wh, ng


There are 5 vowels – a, e, i, o and u.
Each can be pronounced short or long, this is indicated with a macron (bar on top) to indicate a lengthened pronunciation, and this looks like ā, ē, ī, ō, ū.

The E Vowel

How to pronounce the “E” vowel

E – Beg without the b & g
Te – Ted without the d
Re – Red without the d
Me – Med without the d
Ne – as in Ned without the d
“Te” or any word with “e” vowels above are never spoken “Tee” or “Tay”.

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A few examples to get you going

English: What is your name?
Māori: Ko wai to ingoa?
Phonetically: Caw why tore ing-oh-ah

English: After you
Māori: A muri I a koe
Phonetically: Ah moo-ree ee ah kway

English: Have a seat
Māori: Whakatau mai
Phonetically: Far-car-toe my

English: Taupo
Māori: Taupo
Phonetically: Toe-paw

English: Hello (to one person)
Māori: Kia ora
Phonetically: Key ora

English: Hello (to many people)
Māori: Kia ora koutou katoa
Phonetically: Key ora ko-toe cut-oar

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