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Te Wiki o te Reo Māori

13 Sept 2021

13 – 19 Hepetema (September) 2021

Tēnā koutou katoa. Ko tēnei Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

This week is a great time to be learning some new kupu (words) and phrases to help us as a nation strengthen the use of Te Reo Māori, Aotearoa’s first and indigenous language.

You can find a great resource on the Deaf Aotearoa website created by Richard Peri entitled “I am Deaf”. This resource features Richard signing a good selection of Māori signs. There are also some great resources available on the Taura Whiri website (The Māori language commission). You can access the website here at the attached link: While there are lots of resources there to help you learn some new Māori words in written or spoken form, there are no resources on this website with signs for Te Reo Māori words and concepts, so I have created a resource with a small selection of Māori words and their associated signs. I have consulted with trilingual Interpreter Stephanie Awheto who has taught me these signs which reflect a Māori way of thinking and communicating. Stephanie works with Richard Peri at Deaf Aotearoa.

I hope you will find this resource useful and simple to use with ākonga and classroom teachers, and with your colleagues and whānau.

Also, tomorrow at 12pm (Tuesday the 14th), watch out for our Ko Taku Reo participation in the national ‘Māori language moment’, as a group of our Deaf staff perform a Six60 Māori Anthem waiata. The ‘Māori language moment’ can be viewed live on YouTube – find the link at

Have fun this week, and don’t forget to share your learnings with us all.

Ngā mihi! Kia kaha te reo Māori.

Kia ora

Kia ora is a salutation that means “Be Well”. In te Reo Māori we use ‘Kia ora’ in a variety of ways.

Pepeha - Tribal saying

A pepeha is a tribal saying that shows the connection of an individual to their tribal landmarks and whakapapa/ancestry. There are two variations.

Whaea & Matua - Mum and Dad … but much more

‘Whaea’ in te reo Māori refers to more than just one’s ‘Māmā’. The word whaea refers to mum/mother, aunties, female teachers, or any female who mothers, nurtures and teaches, or even just an adult female. Likewise, the same applies for ‘Matua’, which refers to adult males of the same nature – dad/father, uncles, etc …

Ko wai tō ingoa? - What is your name

In te reo Māori we do not ask ‘what’ is your name, but ‘who’ is your name or simply ‘who are you?’ The word ‘wai’ means water and so the question ‘Ko wai koe?’ is asking: “From whose waters do your come?” This question connects us with our whakapapa (the waters within the womb) and also the waters and lands that we connect to.


A whakataukī is a proverb or saying. When we do not know the saying’s author it is whakataukī, and when we do know the author it is a whakatauakī – notice the extra ‘a’. (The sign is the same). Whakataukī have most often been handed down from generation to generation. This is reflected in the sign.