Foster Te Reo Māori with parents

Researcher Kahurangi Maxwell says parents that are well-informed about the benefits of bilingualism will not be influenced by uninformed opinions; she invited four whanau to take part in a year long rsearch project alongside herself, and her partner Chey Milne and four year old daughter Atareta.

One of the first concepts tamariki learn at kōhanga reo is ‘Ko tōku reo, tōku ohooho’ – my language is my awakening.

The theme for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2015 is Whāngaihia te Reo Māori ki ngā mātua: Foster the Māori language with parents – a theme which organisers hope will arouse a passion in parents and whānau to remain steadfast in their commitment to use more te Reo Māori with tamariki.

As well as launching Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission introduces 50 phrases over 50 weeks to support parents to Whāngai i te Reo Māori with their tamariki. The phrases are anticipated to trigger an increased use of te Reo Māori in the home, and encourage language development.

Parents can use the phrases in settings appropriate for tamariki such as the kitchen – ‘Kei te hiakai koe?’ (‘Are you hungry?’), and the playground – ‘Whiua te pōro ki a Sarah’ (‘Throw the ball to Sarah’).

An independent Māori Language Advisory Group has prepared a presentation outlining ideas it was considering as part of its final report on the Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill.

The presentation asserts that: if te reo Māori is to be safe and survive in the next 100 years it needs to be spoken. Not just on the marae. Not just in classrooms. But in the daily activities of whānau, in normal community interactions, in the richness and beauty of people’s lives.

Speaking te Reo Māori in our homes is still a challenge for many of us. As part of her Masters thesis with Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Kahurangi Maxwell (Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue and Ngāti Rangiwewehi) led research to find out how parents successfully raise tamariki with te Reo Māori as their first language.

Four Māori-speaking whānau were invited to take part in the year-long research alongside Kahurangi, her partner Chey Milne, and their four year old daughter Atareta.

The research explores the situations faced by Māori-speaking parents, who have chosen to raise their tamariki in te reo Māori, and their aspirations to normalise te Reo Māori for their tamariki.

“For almost all of the parents we talked to, motivations were significantly influenced by their own background and journey with the language," Kahurangi shares.

“Some of the parents had been raised in kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa, while others didn’t grow up with the language. We all shared the same whakaaro – that we wanted something better for our tamariki.”

The common criticism parents experienced was a misperception that they were abandoning the use of English for the sake of the Māori language.

“The majority of people criticising parents often didn’t have the language, and didn’t understand the value of te Reo Māori,” Kahurangi says. “Research shows children who achieve the appropriate language acquisition in their first language, in reading and writing, will transfer the same language acquisition to their second language.”

She has a message for parents and whānau who want to use more te Reo Māori with their tamariki.

Pull quote: “Parents who are well-informed about the benefits of bilingualism will not be influenced by uninformed opinions. They will be staunch in your position.”

She advises that parents who expose tamariki to te Reo Māori use outside of the home will help normalise te Reo Māori, and affirm language acquisition.

“As a whānau we travel a lot, so in the car our daughter will see and hear us speaking te Reo Māori to each other. If your children know you value te Reo Māori – they will too.”

Throughout her research Kahurangi found examples of parents making an effort to incorporate as much te Reo Māori in their daily lives, regardless of the barriers they faced. Together they established a te Reo Māori speaking support network.

“We created a group of Māori-speaking parents,” Kahurangi says. “We meet once a week to kōrero Māori. Not only is it good for tamariki, it’s good for Māori-speaking parents too. I would say to first start with your immediate whānau, and branch out to include others if you need to.”

“No matter what your level of te Reo Māori, your input can make a difference to the growth of te Reo Māori use in your home.”

The following tips provide suggestions to overcome some of the barriers you might face as a Māori language learner and advocate in your home. You will find these in Kei Roto i te Whare – Māori language in the home. This booklet is designed to help you with decisions about learning and speaking te reo Māori within your household.

Download your copy of Kei Roto i te Whare at

By Cherish Wilkinson

Five tips for parents to speak te Reo Māori with your children

  1. Practice in the safety of your home with your whānau and friends. Once you feel comfortable with the phrases and words, you can try them out when you are in public.
  2. Record Māori programmes from television. This is particularly good with pre-schoolers who are at home during the day. Maximise the benefits and ask each other questions in te Reo Māori about what’s happening in the programme.
  3. Participate in Māori cultural activities, such as waka ama, kapa haka and mau taiaha as much as possible. Participation will increase the number of places where you can speak te Reo Māori.
  4. Create resources unique to your child and their identity. Ask your child to draw a picture of their maunga and awa. They will see themselves reflected in the resource and it will be special to them.
  5. Expose your tamariki to different environments where together you can engage in te Reo Māori. This can be in the car, at mealtimes or in the supermarket, your tamariki will learn that te reo Māori is an important part of life and can be used everywhere.

Five Tips for Whānau to Support Parents

  1. Your whānau do not need to be fluent speakers to teach your tamariki te Reo Māori. Encourage your whānau to use any kupu and phrases your whānau may know with your tamariki. Every contribution your whānau can make will help your tamariki.
  2. Every time your whānau speak Māori to your tamariki, they are teaching them two things: first they are teaching your tamariki te Reo Māori; and second they are also teaching your tamariki that te Reo Māori is an important part of home life.
  3. Be aware of the important role that whānau plays in keeping the Māori language alive and healthy.
  4. Talk to your whānau about the importance of speaking te Reo Māori in the home and how you are going to increase your use of the Māori language. Talk about a language plan for you and your whānau in which everyone can participate (through either speaking Māori or supporting others who speak it).
  5. One of the ways children learn is through repetition, so use the same phrases in te Reo Māori with them on a daily basis. This will help you to learn too.

Arohamai-arohaatu: our apologies to Kahurangi Maxwell and her whānau. In the printed edition of Kōkiri magazine, her work was identified as a ‘doctorate thesis’. This has been corrected on our website.


Whāngaihia te Reo Māori ki ngā mātua

Ko tētahi o ngā ariā tuatahi ka akona e ngā tamariki i te kōhanga reo ‘Ko tōku reo, tōku ohooho’

Ko te kaupapa mō Te Wiki Reo Māori 2015 ko Whāngaihia te Reo Māori ki ngā mātua

Ko te aronga o te kaupapa i tēnei tau ko te whāngai me te whakatenatena i ngā mātua me ngā whānau kia kaha ake te whakamahinga o te reo Māori i te taha o ngā tamariki.

I tua atu i te whakaterenga o Te Wiki Reo Māori, ka tīmata Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori ki te whāngai i ngā kīanga 50, i roto i ngā wiki 50 ki ngā mātua hei tautoko i a rātou ki te Whāngai i te Reo Māori ki ā rātou tamariki. Ko te whakapae e rere nei mā ēnei kīanga e tīmata te tipu o te reo Māori i te kāinga, e whakatenatena anō hoki i te whanaketanga o te reo.

Ka taea e ngā mātua te whakamahi ngā kīanga i ngā wāhi e tika ana mō ngā tamariki pērā i te kīhini – “Kei te hiakai koe?”, me te papatākaro – ‘’Whiua te pōro ki a Hera”.

Kua whakaritea e tētahi Rōpū Tohutohu Reo Māori motuhake he whakaaturanga e whakaahua ana i ngā whakaaro i wānangahia e rātou hei wāhanga o tana pūrongo whakamutunga mō te Pire Reo Māori.

Ko te whakapuakinga a te whakaaturanga ko tēnei: ”kia haumaru ai te reo Māori, kia ora ai i ngā tau 100 e tū mai nei, me mātua kōrero Māori. Kaua i te marae anake. Kaua i ngā akomanga anake. Engari ia i ngā mahi noa iho o ia rā a te whānau, i ngā whakawhitiwhitinga noa o te hapori, ka mutu i te kāmehameha, i te ātaahua hoki o te ao o te tangata”.

He wero nui tonu te kōrero Māori i ō tātou kāinga mō te nuinga o tātou. He karere tā te kairangahau Kahurangi Maxwell ki ngā mātua me ngā whānau e whai ana kia kaha ake te kōrero Māori i te taha o ā rātou tamariki.

Hei wāhanga o tana tuhinga whakapae ki Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, i whakahaere rangahau a Kahurangi hei whakamahuki ake i te mahi a ngā mātua e whakatipu angitū ana i ā rātou tamariki ki te reo Māori hei reo tuatahi.

E whā ngā whānau i tonoa kia uru mai ki tētahi rangahau kotahi tau te roa i te taha o Kahurangi, o tōna hoa rangatira a Chey Milne me tā rāua tamāhine, a Atareta, e whā ōna tau.

Kei te tūhura te rangahau i ngā tūāhua ka tūpono noa ki ngā mātua kōrero Māori, te hunga kua whakatau ki te whakatipu i ā rātou tamariki ki te reo Māori, otirā tō rātou tūmanako mā ā rātou tamariki kia noho te reo Māori hei reo kōrerorero o ia rā, o ia rā.

“Mō te tino nuinga o ngā mātua i tūtaki ai mātou, nō ō rātou ake whakaaro mō te reo me tā rātou ake whai i te reo rātou i akiaki.

“I whakatipuria ētahi o ngā mātua i ngā kōhanga reo me ngā kura kaupapa, engari anō ētahi atu, kāore i whāngaihia ki te reo Māori. Ahakoa rā, kotahi te whakaaro o te katoa – ko tētahi āhuatanga pai ake anō mā ā mātou tamariki.”

Ko te tino whakapae i whakatau ki runga i ngā mātua i runga i ō rātou ake haerenga, ko te pōhēhē e whakarērea ana e rātou te reo Ingarihi mō te reo Māori te take.

E ai ki a Kahurangi “Ko te nuinga o ngā tāngata e whakahē ana i ngā mātua, kāore ō rātou reo Māori, kāore hoki rātou i mārama ki te hiranga o te reo Māori.”

“Kua kitea i ngā rangahautanga ko ngā tamariki e whiwhi ana i te nui me te kounga o te reo e tika ana i tō rātou reo tuatahi, i te pānui me te tuhi, e taea ai hoki te whakawhiti i aua pūkenga reo ki tō rātou reo tuarua.”

“E kore ngā mātua mōhio ki ngā hua o te reoruatanga e whakarongo ki ngā kōrero o te kore mōhio. He toka tū moana koe e kore rawa e nekehia.”

Ko tāna ki ngā mātua, mā te puta atu i te kāinga ki te whakamātau i ngā tūāhuatanga i waho o te kāinga e āwhina ki te whakarite i te reo hei reo kōrero o ia rā me te whakaū i te hopu o te reo.

“Ka hāereere haere mātou ā-whānau, nō reira ka kite, ka rongo hoki tā mātou tamāhine i a māua e kōrero Māori ana ki a māua anō. Ki te mōhio ō tamariki kei te kaingākau koe ki te reo Māori, ka pērā hoki rātou.”

I a ia e rangahau ana ka kitea e Kahurangi ngā tauira o ngā mātua e whakapau kaha ana ki te tuitui i te reo ki roto i ō rātou ao ia rā, ia rā, ahakoa ngā ārai. Kua whakatūria e rāua tahi he whatunga tautoko o ngā tāngata kōrero Māori.

“I waihangaia e māua he kāhui kōrero Māori o ngā mātua,” te kī a Kahurangi. “Ka tūtaki mātou kotahi wā ia wiki mō te kōrero Māori te take. Ehara i te mea he painga tēnei mā ngā tamariki anake, engari he painga hoki kei roto mā ngā mātua kōrero Māori. Ko tāku me tīmata i tō whānau ake i te tuatahi, kātahi ka whakawhānui atu kia hou mai anō ētahi ina hiahiatia.

“Ahakoa te taumata o tō reo Māori, mā tō whai wāhi mai e whaihua ki te pikinga o te whakamahinga o te reo Māori i tō kāinga.”

Hei ākonga reo Māori, hei kaitaunaki hoki koe i roto i tō kāinga, ko ngā kōrero e whai ake nei he huatau, hei āwhina, hei turaki i ngā tini tauārai e puta ake pea ki a koe.

Ngā tohutohu poto mā ngā mātua mō te kōrero Māori ki ō tamariki

1) Whakawai i tō ake kāinga i te taha o tō whānau me ō hoa, he haumaru. Kia āhua tau anō koe ki te whakamahi i ngā kīanga me ngā kupu, kātahi ka āhei koe ki te whakamātau i aua kōrero ki mua i ētahi atu.

2) Hopukina ngā hōtaka reo Māori i te pouaka whakaata. He tino pai tēnei mā ngā kōhungahunga kei te kāinga ia rā, ia rā. Whakanuia ngā hua mā te pātai tētahi ki tētahi i te reo Māori e aha kē ana i te hōtaka.

3) Whai wāhi atu ki ngā ngohe ahurea Māori, pēnā i te waka ama, te kapa haka me te mau taiaha, kia rite tonu te haere. Mā te whai wāhitanga atu e whānui ake ai ngā wāhi e taea ai e koe te kōrero Māori.

4) Waihanga rauemi ahurei tonu hāngai ki tō tamaiti me tōna tuakiri, tōna tūāhua. Pātai ki tō tamaiti ki te tā pikitia o tōna maunga, o tōna awa. E kite rātou i a

rātou anō e whakaata mai ana i roto i te rauemi, mā reira e noho motuhake ai ki a rātou anō.

5) Whakaatu i ngā tūmomo taiao ki tō tamaiti hei wāhi e taea ai e kōrua tahi te kōrero Māori. Kei roto pea i te waka, i ngā wā kai, i te hokomaha rānei, e ako ai tō tamaiti he tino wāhanga o tō ao te reo Māori e āhei ana hoki te whakamahi i ngā wāhi katoa.

Ngā Tohutohu Poto mō te Whānau hei Tautoko i ngā Mātua

1) Ehara i te mea me tangata matatau rawa ki te kōrero Māori tō whānau hei whakaako i te reo Māori ki ō tamariki. Whakatenatena i tō whānau ki te whakamahi i ngā kupu, i ngā kīanga hoki e mōhiotia ana e tō whānau i te taha o ō tamariki. Ahakoa iti he pounamu, ahakoa he aha te āwhina e taea ai he āwhina nui tonu tērā ki ō tamariki.

2) Ia wā ka kōrero Māori tō whānau ki ō tamariki, e rua ngā whakaakoranga: tuatahi kei te whakaako i te reo Māori ki ō tamariki; tuarua kei te whakaako hoki rātou he āhuatanga te reo o ia rā, o ia rā, he whakahirahira anō hoki te reo Māori i te kāinga.

3) Ka taea e tō whānu te tautoko i a koe me tō whakatau ki te whakatipu i ō tamariki ki te reo Māori, mā te kōrero whakanui huapai. Mā te whāki mai i tō rātou tautoko e whakaatu he tika hoki te ara e whai ana koe.

4) Kōrero ki tō whānau mō te hiranga o te kōrero Māori i te kāinga, me ō whakaaro mō te whakakaha ake i tō kōrero Māori i te kāinga. Kōrero mō tētahi mahere reo māu, mā tō whānau hoki e taea ai e te katoa te whai wāhi atu ki taua mahere mā te kōrero Māori, mā te tautoko rānei i hunga e mōhio ana ki te reo.

5) Ko tētahi o ngā ara ako o te tamaiti ko te tāruatanga o te kōrero, nō reira kia kaha ki te whakamahi i ngā kīanga i te reo Māori i tō rātou taha ia rā, ia rā. Mā konei e ako anō ai hoki koe.

I ahu mai ngā kōrero mō ngā tohutohu i te pukapuka a Te Puni Kōkiri Kei Roto i te Whare – Māori language in the home. I whakaritea tēnei pukapuka hei āwhina i a koe me ngā whakatau mō te ako me te kōrero Māori i te kāinga i roto i tō whare.

E āhei ngā mātua me ngā whānau ki te tiki kape utukore o Kei Roto i te Whare i