Learn Maori (Te Reo)

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About Maori (Te Reo)

Māori is the indigenous language of New Zealand and an official language alongside English. Maori speakers know it simply as ‘te reo’ - ‘the language’. It is most closely related to Tahitian and Cook Islands Maori, and less closely to other Polynesian languages such as Hawaiian. The language started to go into decline after WW2 but revitalisation efforts, including providing education in Maori, mean that it has never become extinct.

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Where is it spoken?

New Zealand

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Fun facts — Maori

  • Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand, means ‘land of the long white cloud’.
  • We borrow the word 'kiwi' from Maori.
  • Maori has two sets of possessive words, for example, 'my' is either 'tāku' or 'tōku'. The difference is that the first is used with things that we can control according to the Maori world view: children, husbands, wives, machines not used for transport, pets, money, tools, food, actions. And the other is used with things beyond our control: parents, siblings, friends, lovers (not spouses), feelings, transport, shelter, buildings, medicine, clothes and parts of the body.

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