Kōrero mai!

Awhitia te reo i te Wiki o Te Reo Māori - embrace Māori language in Māori Language Week. There are plenty of resources to help you learn and use te reo. Here's a few to get you started. Kia kaha!

Some basic greetings and phrases you could use during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – and beyond!

Tēnā koe – formal greeting to one person
Tēnā kōrua - formal greeting to two people
Tēnā koutou - formal greeting to three or more people
Kia ora – informal hello
Haere mai – Welcome
Naumai, tauti mai – Welcome (more commonly heard in this part of the country)

Other useful phrases:
Kei te pēhea koe? – How are you?
Kei te pai – I’m fine
Ko wai tō ingoa? – What is your name?
Ko Lorraine tōku ingoa – My name is Lorraine
Me pēhea au e āwhina? – How can I help?

Haere rā – farewell to someone who is leaving (literally means “off you go”)
E noho rā – farewell when YOU are the one leaving (literally means “stay there”)

Links to some great websites and resources to build skills in te reo:-

Te Wiki o Te Reo - Māori Language Week website
Te Reo Books - children's books in re reo suggested by Ngāi Tahu
Reo Pepi puka puka - books to help develop te reo skills for young families
Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Māori - Tikanga Māori, Whakahuatanga and a selection of online resources to learn te reo Māori suggested by Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission
Te Whanake Māori Language Online - This website provides access to a range of free online resources for independent learning and action
Te Wānanga o Raukawa - Learn te reo Māori online free for New Zealand residents with Te Wānanga o Raukawa, a tikanga Māori tertiary education provider based in Ōtaki, Aotearoa, New Zealand. The course is NZQA approved at Levels 4 and 5
Poupou Huia te Reo - Te Wānanga o Raukawa - 20 week course – free – needs about 12 hours a week – online resources, communication by email
Ko te reo – Māori.org  - This site has heaps of useful resources and is reliable. I refer to it quite a lot. Lots of menu items to choose from to delve into pronunciation, mihi, whakataukī to name a few. Or you can go for the online course
Kupu o te rā and Kupu o te wiki  - A site where you can register to receive regular kupu (word of the day and word of the week), either by email or RSS feed. Or you can just browse the menu bar for types of words and sentences

There are also several mobile apps available, of varying quality. If you go this route, read the reviews in the app store before downloading. Unitec has evaluated some of them.

Some helpful hints on getting your tongue around the sounds of te reo

There are lots of guides out there to pronouncing the pure vowels, based on equivalent sounds in English. Below is my take on that. Probably the most important thing to remember is that the sound doesn’t change no matter what goes on around the vowel.

a – is what is sometimes called the “hut” vowel – it’s the “u” sound in hut.
e – is like the “e” in egg.
i – is probably most like the “ea” in beat. However, it often ends up sounding like the “i” in pit, especially in fast speech.
o – is like “aw” in law
u – is like “oo” in coop
A macron over the vowel changes the LENGTH of the sound, but not the sound itself, so
ā – becomes like “a” in fast (unless you’re from certain parts of the UK)
ē – becomes like “ai” in fair
ī – becomes like “e” in bee
ō – becomes like “o” more (as long as you don’t sound the “r”)
ū – becomes like “oo” in too.

When two (or more) vowels appear together, each vowel retains it’s own sound. The easiest way to get these right is to practice saying each sound separately. For example if you keep saying “a” and “u”, over and over, getting faster each time you should eventually arrive at the sound produced by the “oe” in English toe. Try it – then see what happens when you do the same with other vowels.

Māori (at least modern standardised Māori) has the following consonants:
h, k, m, n, p, r, t, w, ng, wh
Generally speaking the h, k, m, n, p sound the same as in English – except “k” and “p” are a little less plosive (you don’t let as much air out as you say them).
“t” is like English “t” but your tongue is more behind your upper teeth, rather than on the bony ridge.
“r” is tricky – strictly speaking it is a tap (NOT a roll). Try saying english “d”. Then say it again just tapping the roof of your mouth in the same place, not holding it. Just tap once – it isn’t a roll or a trill.
“ng” is called a velar nasal. The easiest way to get it is to start making the “n” sound, then slide your tongue back a bit towards the back of your mouth. You should get the same sound as the “ng” in the middle of singer (as long as you don’t use a very hard “g” sound).
“wh” is rendered in different ways according to dialectal area. The easiest pronunciation for English speakers is the “f” sound, and that is widely used in modern Māori. A more traditional rendition is like the “old fashioned” pronunciation of “wh” in what, when, where – kind of like you’re saying “hw”.