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Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week 2018

Carterton District Council’s corporate services manager Marty Sebire standing with the Te Kotahitanga or ‘unity’ sculpture, symbolising the joining of cultures in Carterton. PHOTO/ELISA VORSTER
Bringing te Reo to council
The Times-Age is entering in to the spirit of Māori Language Week 2018 [Te Wiki o te Reo Māori] and this year’s theme for the week, Kia Kaha te Reo Māori – let’s make the Māori language strong. From today until Monday, we’ll offer up stories and information, about te Reo, guided by the key words ako, whakarongo, waiata, pānui, tuhi and kōrero – meaning to learn, listen, sing, read, write and to speak.

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Carterton District Council’s corporate services manager Marty Sebire is not one to boast about his te Reo language skills but admits he has become something of a ‘go-to’ guy for councillors.

Sebire has no Māori roots, but was committed to teaching his two girls the language belonging to his wife at the time.

In fact, it all began during the 1981 Springbok tour when Sebire received a conviction in relation to protesting which saw him facing community service.

Part of his community service involved chauffeuring around his mother-in-law who worked for the Māori Affairs department setting up Te Kōhanga Reo – a preschool Māori language nest.

It was at this stage he was inspired to learn te Reo.

He picked up the language in a variety of places, including Victoria University of Wellington and Te Wānanga o Raukawa, as well as from family.

He said working for the council had given him the opportunity to refresh his te Reo skills which had become rusty from lack of use.

“I have become the go-to guy which is daunting, especially in public.

“I help out where I can and the council is making an effort to grasp hold of Māori Language Week.”

He said people shouldn’t shy away from trying new words and phrases during Māori language week.

“It’s about encouraging people to use it and normalise it,” he said.

“It has a special status because it’s one of the three official languages in New Zealand and it has special status because of the treaty.

“It’s a lovely language to listen to.”

He said his proudest moment so far at council was their last visit to Hurunui-o-Rangi Marae where the mayor and councillors all did a mihimihi or introduction about themselves.

“Council has a healthy growing relationship with Hurunui-o-Rangi Marae who are an important group within the community and part of that respect is speaking Māori.”



There are five vowel sounds in Maori.

They can be pronounced ‘short’ or ‘long’.

These vowels are pronounced as close or similar to:

a – father

e – dress

i – see

o – thought

u – goose

ā ē ī ō ū

When the vowel is long, with a macron above it, say the vowel for twice as long.


There are 10 consonants, they are: h, k, m, n, ng, p, r, t, w, wh

ng as in singer

wh as in film

r is usually not rolled.

The r sound is created when the tip of the tongue briefly touches the top of the mouth behind the teeth.

Today’s words

koa – please

Kia ora – hello/thank you

āpōpō – tomorrow

kura – school

Āe – yes

Kāo – no

taihoa – wait

Mōrena – good morning

Ka pai – well done

Today’s phrases

Tēnā koe – Greetings, hello to you (1 person)

Tēnā kōrua – Greetings, Hello to you two – (2 people)

Kei te pēhea koe? – How are you?

Kei te pai – Good

Tau kē! – Awesome!

Hei konei rā – Bye, said to someone not leaving

Haere rā – Bye, said to someone leaving

Mō taku hē – Sorry, my bad

Hei āpōpō – See you tomorrow

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