Kia Ora! Maori is our Language of the Month

If you’re an avid follower of our blog you’ll know that each month we chose a “Language of the Month”.  In anticipation of Ellie’s trip to the LED and TBLT conferences in New Zealand, November’s nominated language is Maori. We’d like to thank our author Vaughan Rapatahana who kindly provided us with a glossary of Maori and some useful links to get us started.  Each of us took an aspect of Maori (and Kiwi) language and culture to present to the group…here’s a round-up of the most exciting things we learnt.

I kicked the session off with a brief introduction to the language.  Having chosen the numbers as an easy starting point, we watched some videos to get the pronunciation right, including this one which we have all been singing ever since!

We followed this up with a game of “number catch” and then bingo, which Martisse won, the speed of her call narrowly pipping Sarah to the post!  I think I can say that we all now know our numbers and have been using them in the office ever since.

Next, Ellie presented Maori food (Kai) to us all.  She introduced us to hangi ovens, kumara (sweet potato) and rewena pararoa (Maori bread) as well as the great pavlova debate and the mystery of the term “Kiwi”.  It was a great shame not to be able to toast our afternoon with a glass of Tohu wine, but we were all glad that Ellie didn’t bring in huhu grubs for us to try!

Martisse introduced us to Kiwi slang with a handy glossary and played some very entertaining Kiwi adverts.  It’s hard to decide which our favourites were, as we giggled at them all, but here’s a couple of the best:


Thanks to her friend “Ims” (aka Emma) for providing those!

After that we displayed our catastrophic lack of knowledge during Tommi’s Maori sports quiz!  Questions that we found particularly challenging included naming a Maori footballer who plays in the UK and remembering which Maori golfer won the US Open.  Luckily we were all able to guess at least some of New Zealand’s 7 most popular sports, so no-one finished without a point!  If you’d like to play along with us, answers to the three quiz questions mentioned are at the bottom.

Sarah led the grand finale with her introduction to Maori culture.  We heard about marae (the centre of Maori communities where cultural events are held) and the importance of music and chants to the Maori people.  We then watched the New Zealand rugby team performing the haka at the World Cup and a clip of “Shortland Street”, a Kiwi hospital soap which is broadcast on UK daytime TV.

Here are the answers of the quiz…how many did you get?!
Winston Reid of West Ham United
Michael Campbell, 2005
Cricket, horse racing and equestrianism, netball, rugby union, rugby league, football (soccer) and tennis

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