Māori learning and resources

This is not an exhaustive list of resources. I’ve mainly listed things I’ve found useful and good. There might be something also missing, but these should get you started and finding more.

Self-learning

Books

One of the videos I stumbled early on was from the YouTube channel Starting in Te Reo Māori (which is a good channel if you want to learn!).

I like this video, because the book he loves, is shown properly for you to make a judgement. This book series is not the most popular and widely available and it was not the easiest task to find where to get it outside New Zealand. In addition, the postage costs of shipping abroad from NZ can be quite expensive. I found 2 shops that ship abroad (if not, I would’ve asked the help of some friends in NZ):

  • PoiPrincessMāori resources for education: NZ bookstore, but delivers anywhere. Postage is high, but this is due to NZ post. Probably worth to stack a few items though.
  • McLeods – Bookstore in Rotorua, also delivers abroad. Same thing with the postage.

I got the whole series (6 books). I first ordered the 3 first ones from PoiPrincess and then the 3 last ones from McLeods and I have a very good experience with both stores and I can recommend either.

If you rather want something more easily available, a lot of people recommend the Māori Made Easy books (there are 2 books). That’s what I started with, and they are not bad, but it was more about word lists and separate grammar topics, while the Rangatahi books have a proper text chapter and all the grammar is related and you learn the words without even studying because they are used so much in the chapter and exercises.

Learning materials available online

  • Tōku Reo Website: 5 series of Tōku Reo for you to learn Māori with, free of charge
  • Te Whanake: Set of textbooks, study guides, CDs, teachers’manuals and a dictionary for learning and teaching Māori language
  • Reo Māori: YouTube channel of the Māori Language Commission with a lot of material

To watch and listen

I already mentioned the channel Starting in Te Reo Māori, which has a wealth of information about learning the language. Grant also has an audio podcast worth listening to. You can find it in Spotify or you can listen to it in a podcast app of your choice with the RSS feed.

Te Whanake textbooks have audio available on their website. Even if you don’t own the books, these are great to practice pronunciation. The videos also show the texts, so you can follow along.

Listening fully in Māori

  • Māori Television: they have a website and they are also in YouTube. Note that some of their programs (on their website) are viewable only in New Zealand, mostly some older shows/episodes.
  • Te Ao Māori News: National and local news in te reo Māori
  • Māori Radio Broadcasting: Irirangi.net
  • Speak Māori: YouTube channel of the MāoriLanguage.net website
  • Tākaro Tribe: an animated kids TV series for about on rima (5) very cute Patupaiarehe (woodland fairies) called A,E,I,O,U who live in the magical Wao Arapū (Alphabet forest), along with Pāpā Rākau (Tree Father) and Kōkā (Pond Mother). A show for kids to learn Māori.
  • Waka Huia is an award winning iconic te reo Māori archival documentary series. Waka Huia celebrates stories from throughout the Māori world. Each programme is subtitled to allow more viewers to enjoy and appreciate our stories. They also have a Facebook page.
  • Marae: TV show that presents topics that matter to Māori people.
  • Te Karere: New Zealand’s longest running Māori television news service (this is their YouTube channel)
  • Taringa Podcast: This podcast is not fully in Māori, it’s partly in English, but the parts in Māori (about half) are fully in Māori. This is a good podcast to get used to the sounds of Māori while hearing about intresting topics in English also
  • Wānanga TV: Like the Taringa Podcast, these videos are spoken both in Māori and in English. Still a good resource for some Māori listening.

Fun stuff

Reading resources

Apps

I don’t really use apps to study languages, so this is not my area of expertise… Lot of the Māori learning apps are available in the NZ store only, so that definitely was a problem for me. Also, I have an Android, so all the links and apps are Android apps, however, they should exist for iOS also.

There have been news about Māori coming to Duolingo, but this was delayed (I think because of COVID-19), and so far (in September 2021) there is no Māori course in Duolingo. Hopefully this will change soon.

Māori does exist in Drops, I’ve played around with it a bit to know it’s not for me (apps rarely are), but if you like Drops or language learning from apps, then it seems like a good option.

I have some useful apps that even I use:

  • Te Aka Māori Dictionary
  • Maori-English Translator: The highest rated Māori/English translator app in the Play store (works both ways)
  • Lingogo: This app requires a monthly subscription, but it has stories in Māori and you can click to see the translation in English. Very good reading practice!
  • Māori+: Māori Television app for your phone
  • Kōrerorero: app to learn Māori, concentrating on every day speak and how people really speak. 8 lessons, I do hope they add more lessons. Developed by Te Ara Poutama, the faculty of Māori and indigenous development and the altLAB at Auckland University of Technology
  • Tākaro: This is a game, that is actually meant to teach you coding, but you can choose Māori as the language! It reminds me of playing games when I didn’t yet know English…
  • Māori Pā Wars: Another game where you can choose to play fully in Māori! See also: Mahimaina Mahuru Māori Pā Wars
  • Kiwa Digital has many stories in Māori available. Unfortunately each story is it’s own app, which makes it a bit cumbersome… But it might be interesting to install one app at a time.

Facebook

Useful groups to join and pages to follow. I’ve tried to include only active groups and pages, that have posts in 2021.

Groups

I list here some useful groups that I’ve found. I will also mention if the group is
– public: anyone can see your posts
or
– private: anyone can find the group and ask to join, but once joined, only group members see the discussion

  • Maori 4 Grown Ups: (public) for learners and speakers of Māori. Facebook community to help you include Māori in your life
  • Mahuru Māori: (public) where all the texts need to be written fully in Māori.
  • Learn Te Reo Maori:
  • Te Reo Māori O Aotearoa: (private) group created to share the indigenous language of Aotearoa New Zealand – Te Reo Māori – with those who are on their own journey to learn it. 
  • Learn Māori Abroad Whānau: (private) group ifor anyone who is interested in learning te reo Māori, especially those living outside NZ.
  • He tamariki kōrero Māori: (private) group to chat in Māori and share and ask for advice.
  • A Māori Phrase a Day: (public) group with not quite daily videos and posts that showcase everyday Māori you can learn and speak every day.
  • Starting in Te Reo Māori: (private) group for beginner learners of Māori to ask questions and get help. More advanced learners and speakers can also join, but mainly this is meant for the noob questions of Māori learners.
  • Te ako i te reo Māori: (public) group used for collaboration purposes where people share their ideas about how to grow the Māori speaking community.

Pages

  • Te Karere: New Zealand-Aotearoa’s longest running Māori television news service
  • Learn Māori Abroad: The facebook page for any announcements
  • Learn Te Reo Maori: Page teaching you Māori
  • Maori Worldwide: More about sharing Maori culture than language, but interesting page to follow in any case
  • Te Wiki o te Reo Māori: Māori language week
  • Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori: Māori Language Commission set up under the Māori Language Act 1987 and continued under Te Ture Reo Māori 2016 / Māori Language Act 2016 to promote the use of Māori as a living language and an ordinary means of communication.
  • Waka Huia: facebook page of the award winning iconic te reo Māori archival documentary series.
  • Māu Designz: Wrapped in the language; Reo Māori wrapping paper for all those perehana (presents)!
  • Taringa Podcast: Facebook page of the podcast

Useful links

Learning with a teacher

If you’re the kind of person who needs a bit more structure for your studies, or just have a hard time studying on your own, there are also possibilities for courses online. I don’t list here the courses available for New Zealand citizens only or locally available in New Zealand. There are other sites for that information. I’m concentrating on courses that are available for anyone anywhere wanting to learn Māori.

Courses

Grant from Starting in Te Reo Māori runs a 30 Day Bootcamp at regular intervals. I haven’t tried it, but I assume it’s good based on his other content. If you want a less intensive version, something you can do a bit more leisurely, he also has a self paced course. The self-paced course runs for 30 days and there are extra 30 days you can purchase in addition. Both the Bootcamp and the self-paced course have private Facebook groups and Grant is very responsive if you have any questions about the language.

Learn Māori abroad has several courses at different levels. There are times that are suitable for people living in different parts of the world. I started the beginner’s course, and for me it started a bit slow, and also work stuff got in the way. But in general, I think this is an interesting option. If you can’t make a lesson, they are all recorded, so you can watch them later. There is also a Facebook group, which can be very useful. They are based in California, USA, but they offer courses with times in mind for different regions of the world.

Reo Ora also has online courses. I have not tried these, so I can’t say anything about them on top of what you can see from their website, but it looks like something definitely worth checking out.

Te Awa Māori – The Māori Learning Journey also offer courses at different levels. Again, I have not tried these, but they seem like a good opportunity also.

Te Reo Maioha teaches courses online (through Zoom) with Te Aarangi (total immersion) method. The main emphasis is on listening and speaking rather than written learning. They only offer one course per year, which is a comprehensive 40-week program that runs from January to December. If interested, keep an eye out for signups for next year.

Private lessons

I haven’t found too many private teachers, and the prices tend to be fairly expensive (which is understandable). There is Tohu Ora that offers private lessons through Zoom for the price of 60 NZD/lesson (~$45 USD, September 2021). This includes your personalized program, homework, face to face 1 hour zoom sessions and 24/7 support. Once I have some knowledge under my belt, I’m definitely considering this.

Other than that, there are not Māori teachers in italki or other teaching platforms (at least what I’ve found). When I asked, Amelia from Learn Māori abroad does also offer private lessons.

I did also find Māori tutors at the SuperProf website. Most of them offer tutoring online, but you do need a NZ address to register and I’m not sure how the payment will work. But if you can get an NZ address, you can always message the tutors to see if they would take on a student abroad and I’m sure something like Paypal would work for payment.

Articles and videos and other things that are particularly interesting related to Māori

About non-Māori people speaking and learning Māori

Here I want to write a bit about my thoughts on the subject. Sometimes I feel like this is a topic that comes up specifically in English-speaking countries in relation to the native and/or minority languages. I’ve tried to read on the topic, so I feel like my opinion is at least somewhat informed on this.

I think, that if Māori will continue to be a living language and fully used in New Zealand, then the learning of Māori shouldn’t be limited to Māori people, but everyone should learn it, or at least have a chance to learn. In my opinion it should be taught in schools (which I think it currently is). However, I think it also needs to be recognized that the funds are always limited, and the division of funds should prioritize the Māori people of learning the language. The discussion of not taking the space of the Māori people and “speaking for them” and being the loudest in the room, is something I think would be a good thing to learn in any case: in situation with men vs. women, with pākeha vs. Māori, and really with any group in power vs. the less powerful one.

I’ve been honestly baffled that there are people who want to learn a language without learning anything about a culture it’s spoken in. For me, culture has been always part of the language learning deal, and personally the driving force of language learning. Of course, this cultural learning is not always perfect, but for example in French, besides learning about France, we did learn about the other countries where French is spoken, like in Africa and the outer territories of France. So, definitely the language study should come with the respect of the culture.

Here are some other opinions and viewpoints on the matter:

Other resources

If you want to take a look at resources I haven’t tried or don’t recommend here, I list here links, so you can check them out.

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