Workplace Māori

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Photograph of Victoria University Marae in KelburnOverview:
Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria.
My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul.

In this eight-week introductory course, you will learn basic Māori language skills for communicating at work, and gain an understanding of Maori cultural concepts and protocols as they relate to the workplace. Join us if you wish to start learning and using te reo Māori at work and in your everyday life.

Required materials:
A course workbook is provided.

Target audience:
This course is suitable for all, but is designed particularly for professionals with little or no experience of te reo Māori.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • greet, acknowledge and farewell people in both informal and formal settings
  • introduce yourself with a simple mihimihi (introduction)
  • ask and answer questions relating to:
    • name
    • tribal affiliations
    • whānau and relationships
    • name of organisation
    • workplace roles and responsibilities
    • wellbeing of another person and their family, friends and colleagues
  • introduce yourself when answering the telephone
  • begin to understand Māori cultural concepts as they influence the workplace.

Course outline:
The course covers the following topics:

  •  Week 1: Whakahua kupu – pronunciation
    • Karakia
    • Arapū – alphabet
    • OrokatiI – consonants
    • Oro puare – vowels
  • Week 2: Whakawhanaunga – getting acquainted
    • He kōrero whakamōhio - meeting & introducing other people
    • Mihi ōpaki - informal greetings
    • Poroporoaki - farewells
  • Week 3: Whanau (family)
    • Ētahi kupu whānau - family relationships
    • Tōku whānau – my family
  • Week 4: Tūrangawaewae - A place to stand
    • Nō hea koe? – Where are you from?
    • E noho ana koe ki hea? - Where do you live?
    • E mahi ana koe ki hea? - Where do you work?
  • Week 5: Ngā rā o te wiki – days of the week
    • Ngā tatau: numbers
    • Ngā rā o te wiki: days of the week
    • Ngā marama o te tau: months of the year
    • Kei te pēhea…? - Asking how someone is?
  • Week 6: Kei te tari? kei te mahi – At the office/at work
    • Te waea - On the phone
    • Tuhi reta - Letter and email writing
    • Advocacy for Māori language in your workplace
    • Whakamahi i te reo - Using the language
    • Kei te kihini - In the kitchen
  • Week 7: Tikanga tari - Office tikanga
    • Tikanga Māori in the formal Pōwhiri
    • Tikanga Māori in informal marae or meeting settings
    • Using Tikanga Māori in the workplace
  • Week 8: Aromatawai
    • Mihimihi
    • Where to from here?

Learning activities focus on listening, speaking, reading and writing te reo Māori. To reinforce your learning homework is encouraged. There is no formal assessment.

Tea, coffee and a light snack is provided. You are welcome to bring further refreshments if you wish.

Class limit: 
This course is limited to a maximum of 20 participants, so please enrol early.

Kuratapirirangi Martina Rose Marsha Higgins (Ngāi Tūhoe)
recently graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Arts in Māori Studies and Māori Resource Management as well as a minor in Italian. Kura is passionate about languages and enjoys helping others in learning te reo Māori by imparting her own knowledge. She has past experience tutoring te reo Māori at Victoria University.


Tainui te waka, Waikato te awa, Ngāti Hauā te iwi, Kai-a-te-mata te marae. Whaearua Ross is a graduate of Te Herenga Waka at Victoria University of Wellington, majoring in Te Reo Māori and Media Studies. She has worked for two years as a tutor for Māori language papers and is currently completing her Honours degree in Māori and Media Studies. She has a passion for the language and would love to see it used more widely by New Zealanders.

"Whaearua was an excellent tutor. She pitched her teaching at an appropriate level, did so in a really approachable way with humour and relevance. She was positive and supportive and she put the use of Te Reo in a contemporary context", Everyday Māori for Beginners participant (2019)

“Kura was a great teacher - friendly, approachable, broke things down and was always happy to take the time to explain or re-explain words, pronunciation and answered any of our questions. The course was fun and at a relaxed pace yet still informative”, Everyday Māori for Beginners participant (2018)

 “The course was great, Kura is fabulous and very patient and kind”, Everyday Māori for Beginners participant (2018)

 Relevant links:
Te Kawa a Māui
Everyday Māori for Beginners
Everyday Māori - Level 2
Language Learning Centre

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email:

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.