Everyday Māori for Beginners


Photogaph of Maori Koru carvingOverview:
This eight-week course for absolute beginners will start you on the journey to learn Māori tikanga (culture) and introductory te reo (language) at a steady, comfortable pace.  You will learn useful vocabulary to use in your home and everyday life and gain an understanding of the Māori world view through the learning medium of te reo.

Required materials:
A course workbook will be provided.

Target audience:
Everyday Māori for Beginners is suitable for everyone who wants to start learning te reo.

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

  • use correct pronunciation
  • express greetings and farewells for friends and family
  • introduce yourself and your family
  • acknowledge others using te reo; and  
  • integrate useful vocabulary into your everyday life.

Course outline:
The course covers the following topics:

  •  Week 1: Whakahua kupu – pronunciation
    • Karakia
    • Arapū – alphabet
    • Orokati – 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: Te reo ōpaki – Useful phrases
    • Te waea – on the phone 
    • Tuhi reta – letter writing
    • Kei te rūma kai – in the dining room
    • Kēmu - Games
    • Kei te papa tākaro - At the sports field
  • Week 7: Tikanga ōkawa Māori (Māori customs)
    • Tikanga Māori in the formal Pōwhiri
    • Tikanga Māori in informal marae or meeting settings
    • Using Tikanga Māori 
  • Week 8: Aromatawai
    • Mihimihi

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

There is a short break half-way through each session, and tea/coffee is provided.  You are welcome to bring your own 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.


Jacob McGregor has recently completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations with a minor in Te Reo Māori. He has had the joy of tutoring te reo Māori for the past two years at Victoria University. Jacob is eager to share his enthusiasm for te reo Māori with others.


Shanara Wallace is a descendant of Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga, ki Wairarapa hoki and is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Te Reo Māori, Māori Studies and Māori Resource Management. She developed a love for teaching the language over the past two years and her dream is for Te Reo Māori to have equal value and use as English in the mainstream.

"I really enjoyed the way the course was run - you could choose the level of learning that you wanted to take out of it, and it was a very supportive environment for those less confident in speaking in front of a class, Everyday Māori for Beginners participant (2019)

“Everyday Maori for Beginners was an excellent and informative introduction to learning Maori. It has given me a greater understanding and appreciation of the richness of the language and culture”, Everyday Māori for Beginners participant (2018)

"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)

“Whaea was a fun and engaging teacher and I enjoyed the course”, Everyday Māori for Beginners participant (2018)

"The teacher [Jacob] provided a convivial atmosphere that made learning a pleasure. He was ready to answer questions at all times and gave us invaluable information, encouraging and enabling us to go on learning & practicing te reo", Everyday Māori for Beginners participant (2019)

"Jacob is a fantastic teacher who really made the learning environment very accessible and easy to learn in. He has a lovely personal and humorous touch to compliment his way of teaching and presenting", 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:
Workplace Māori
Everyday Māori - Level 2
Te Kawa a Māui
Language Learning Centre

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

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.