No matter what your level of fluency, there are many things you can do to celebrate te reo Maori. Of course, you can try these suggestions all year round, but Maori Language Week is a great time to start!
Give it a go!
- Learn to love the sound of your own voice! Learn how to pronounce Maori words by learning the vowel sounds 'a-e-i-o-u' first. Learn simple songs in Maori from this website, from your friends, family, from tapes, Maori radio or from the Internet. Greet your whanau, your work colleagues and the local shopkeeper in te reo Maori.
- Read aloud in Maori for a sustained period each day. Hearing yourself make the sounds is important and helps you pick up the rhythm of the language. Your comprehension, vocabulary knowledge and general language ability will also improve if you read out loud regularly.
- Use Maori language every day so that it becomes normal to you. Find something you do or say routinely e.g. answering the phone or greeting your children. Make a decision to do it only in Maori and stick to it. Each day, add something new to your list of phrases. Set yourself a target.
- Practise, practise, practise. Take every opportunity to speak Maori. Try it with your friends and family, especially your children or nieces and nephews – while they are young they won’t mind if you make mistakes!
- Travel in Maori. While travelling in the car, try to recall Maori words for things you see. Put each word into a sentence. Say the word and the sentence out loud. Practise out loud the Maori names for the places you visit. Use our 'He Korero mo Aotearoa - On the Road with te Reo' booklet to help you (coming soon!).
Around the home
- Create some Maori language zones. The kitchen, for example, can be a 'Maori only' area. Perhaps the dining room, the lounge or your desk area can be reo Maori zones. Your car could become a reo Maori zone on wheels! While you're in these 'zones', speak Maori only and encourage those with you to do the same.
- Schedule some Maori language times. Perhaps lunch or dinner can be a korero Maori time for you and/or your whanau. Saturday or Sunday mornings might work better for you. You and your partner could decide to do your supermarket shopping in reo Maori. It doesn't need to be a long time - ten minutes every day will still make a difference to your skills.
- Practise on your children. Read Maori language books aloud to your children and watch Maori language children's programmes with them.
- What's the Maori word for that? There's nothing like a good old post-it note when it comes to remembering the Maori words for common household items! Let the family know you're going to use only the Maori word for that thing or activity from now on. Label 5-10 new things a week.
- Access Maori language media. Maori language resources have never been more available than they are now. Watch Maori Television at home and listen to the local Maori radio station. Visit your local library to borrow Maori language music, DVDs, videos and books. Add Maori books music CDs to your Christmas list!
- Use the Internet. Do a Google search on 'Maori language', 'Maori language lessons', Maori conversational language' etc. Try out basic commands and phrases in these booklets: 'Using Maori in the Home'; 'Kei Roto i te Whare'.
Help given, help received
- Seek out other Maori speakers. Join the Korero Maori Language Club; join a kapa haka (culture group); attend a language class or an immersion programme; set up a regular coffee morning or a social event.
- Ask for help and support. Ask a fluent speaker to be your language mentor. Ask a friend or relative who can speak Maori to teach you some simple phrases.
- He toa takitini. Encourage your whanau and friends to come to classes with you so you have someone to speak Maori with.
- Create an oral archive. Record kaumatua talking, telling stories and singing in Maori. These recordings can be used as inspiration for you and other learners and taonga for your whanau, hapu and iwi. They can also be archived for years to come as excellent examples of our living language.
- Awhi mai, awhi atu. Help out at your local kohanga reo or kura kaupapa Maori. Most kohanga and kura are grateful for the extra help and it is an excellent way to extend your own conversational skills.
Outside the home
- Flash as! Make up small flash cards with individual words or short sentences - English one side, Maori on the other. Attach them to your key ring or carry them in your pocket. Test yourself whenever you have a few spare minutes.
- Be a bookworm. Check out Maori language resources in the local bookstore and library. Most libraries have a Maori language section and information on local language courses. www.nzlibraries.com.
- Use the Internet. Public, school and university libraries and internet cafes give access to the net.
- Classy... Enrol in a Maori language class. Here's a list of Maori language providers, but it's not exhaustive. Don't be afraid to make a few phone calls and do some research about what's available near you.
- Mobile Maori. Your car could become a Reo Maori Zone on wheels! While travelling in the car, try to recall Maori words for things you see. Put each word into a sentence. Say the word and the sentence out loud. Practise out loud the Maori names for the places you visit. Use our 'He Korero mo Aotearoa - On the Road with te Reo' booklet to help you (coming soon!). If you're travelling by air or train, look out the window. Use your travelling time to revise vocabulary to describe the landscapes you see.