Aki - Tips

Here are a few tried and true tips and suggestions to help learn the Māori language:

Read aloud in Māori 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 improve too if you read regularly.

Make up small flash cards with individual words or short sentences - English one side, Māori on the other. Attach them to your key ring or carry them in your pocket. Test yourself whenever you have a few spare minutes.

Use Māori language everyday 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 in Māori only and stick to it. Each day, add something new to your list of phrases. Set yourself a target.

Seek out opportunities to meet other Māori speakers e.g. join the Kōrero Māori Language Club, a kapa haka (culture group), attend an immersion programme, attend a language class, set up a coffee morning, or a social event.

Watch Māori television, listen to Māori radio and music. Visit your local library to borrow Māori language music tapes, videos and books. Add Māori music CDs to your Christmas list!

Ask a fluent speaker to be your language mentor.

Practice, practice, practice. Take every opportunity you can to speak Māori. 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. While travelling in the car, try to recall Māori words for things you see. Put each word into a sentence. Say the word and the sentence out loud.