Contact Info
Lesley Armstrong-Jennings
10 Shoebridge Cres
R D 3 Whangarei 0173
New Zealand

Phone: 64-9-4344659
Fax: 64-9-4344544
New Zealanders appreciate visitors who at least attempt to pronounce Maori words correctly.  And the Maori language is relatively easy to pronounce ( compared with the English language!), although naturally no-one speaks it as well as a Maori.
There are books on pronouncing Maori available here for those who want to know every detail of how to speak Maori, but for those who just want some basic knowledge, I can help you.  You need to learn some vowel sounds and a couple of consonants, and you can listen to how I pronounce a few words below. 
Please note that I am no expert on the Maori language - I am a Pakeha ( "white" New Zealander) passing on what I have learned.  But I have an abiding love of Maori culture, was schooled at a predominantly Maori school, and believe a basic knowledge of the Maori language is better than none at all.  And as mentioned before, you can purchase books and CD-Roms here if you need more details.


A vowel can be long or short.  It is these small changes in sound that change the meaning of a word.

                    a   Short a as in "around", long a as in "cart"

e    Short as in "get", long as in "bed"

     i    'ee' sound, short as in "beat", long as "sheep"

  o   'aw' sound, short as in "awesome', long as in "cork"

u    short as in "put", long "oo" sound as in "shoot"

When you see a Maori word with two or more vowels together, you say each vowel but run them together.  All Maori syllables end in a vowel.

DIGRAPHS ( double consonants)

There are two to learn, and since there are different schools of thought on how they 'should' be pronounced, I'm just going to tell you how they are pronounced by the majority of New Zealanders.

wh as a soft 'f' e.g. whenua sounds like 'feh-noo-ah'

ng as 'n'  e.g. place-name Ngawha sounds like 'Nah-fah'


Here are a few English words and phrases, spoken in Maori.  Click on the Maori words to hear them spoken.

 ( NB: My Windows Media Player messes up the recorded sound when played the first time, but is fine when played thru again.  So if the same thing happens to you, just click the arrow to hear the sound again).

Hello   Kia ora

Good bye   Haere ra

Good bye ( from the person leaving)   E noho ra

See you again   Ka kite ano
Thanks mate!   Kia ora e hoa
Be quiet!  Turituri
I only speak a little Maori    He iti noa iho taku reo Maori
Husband   Hoa tane
Wife   Hoa wahine
Daughter   Tamahine
Son   Tama
Child   Tamariki
Where are you from?   No hea koe?
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