Learning Te Reo Māori – Lesson 1 – Pronunciation

Abc, Academic, Alphabet, Alphabets



Te Reo Māori has 8 consonants:


Most of the consonants are pronounced as in English, there are some exceptions:

The ‘r’ is rolled, try placing your  tongue up towards  the roof of your mouth and curl it a little on the sides and use a little puff of air between the roof of your mouth and your tongue to vibrate and straighten out your tongue as you let the sound come out.

rere : fly  raro : underneath   rima : 5

The ‘t’ is not aspirated like it is in English (ie.  not so much air is expelled as you say the letter).

Try placing your tongue at the top of your teeth instead of on the roof of your mouth when you say it.  The sound should be closer to a ‘th’ than a ‘t’ sound.

tote : salt   tiki : fetch   tahi : one

Te Reo Māori has 5 vowels:  A E I O U

A:   ah (as in car)

E:  eh (as in any)

I:  ee (as in pee)

O: oh (as in ought)

U:  oo (as in zoo)

When a macron is added to a vowel it doubles the length of the sound.

Ā, Ē, Ī,Ō, Ū

It’s very important to hold on to the sound when a macron appears:

manu, bird

mānu, float

papa, floor

pāpā, dad

patu, hit

pātū. wall


There are two diagraphs in Te Reo Māori:

  (ie. two letter combinations that are joined together to make one sound)

wh = the f sound  (whare:house, awhi:hug)

ng = the sound at the end of thing (ngeru:cat, ngongoro:snore, rangi:sky)