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Unit 1: Ata mārie – Good morning

Learning intentions

In this unit students will:

  • learn the Māori alphabet and the letter sounds
  • ask and answer the question “Where are you from?” in Māori, and learn why you ask it
  • use the phrases kia ora – hello, ata mārie – good morning, ka kite anō – see you again, and say them in the correct context.

Success criteria

Before commencing the unit the teacher will discuss the learning intentions with the students and together agree upon appropriate success criteria.



Transcripts for Unit 1 (PDF, 278 kB)

Te Arapū Māori (PDF, 491 kB)

Unit 1 Worksheet A (PDF, 285 kB)


Activity 1

Students will learn correct pronunciation of the Māori alphabet.

Before starting this activity watch He kōrero whakamārama where tohutō (macron) is explained. Introduce the Māori alphabet using the song Te Arapū Māori. Have the students say the letters and sounds after you. Play Audio CD track 1 for the students to listen to the tune, and then ask them to sing along. When students are confident with the tune and lyrics, show them the waiata video, and introduce them to the actions and steps that go with the song. Have the students copy Te Arapū Māori into their Wehi books. This is the book that students will use to copy, record, write notes and complete any written and illustration work related to Ka Mau te Wehi! Language learning is enhanced when students are provided with opportunities to practise writing in the target language. The students’ work in the Wehi books can be checked by themselves, their peers or the teacher.

Explain to the students that in Māori the vowel sound is short or long. If a vowel has a tohutō (macron), like in the word “Māori”, the vowel sound is long. If not, the vowel sound is short. An alternative to the tohutō is the double vowel: Maaori. Ask the students to find out if the words in their local area are printed with the tohutō or the double vowel. Tell the students that a quick way to remember the word tohutō is: tohu means symbol and tō means to drag or to lengthen.

In pairs, ask the students to check each other’s song to ensure that the song title has macrons: Te Arapū Māori.

Activity 2

Students will learn how to greet someone in the morning.

Watch Unit 1 Scene 1 where Sione is invited to breakfast at Haami’s house. Have the students practise saying ata mārie (good morning) to each other. Ask them what they think Māmā is saying (Haere mai ki te kai – Come and eat) when it is used by Māmā and Pāpā in Unit 1 Scene 1.


Roleplay 1 (whole class)

Set up a table with a few mock-up breakfast items such as eating utensils and a jam jar with tiamu written on it. Select children to go out of the classroom and come in as if they are arriving for breakfast. Practise using the phrases from Unit 1 Scene 1.

Roleplay 2 (small group)

If there are students who know the words in Unit 1 Scene 1, ask them to make up a roleplay using vocabulary they are familiar with: e.g. one student could pretend to be asleep, and a second student could say E oho! (Wake up) and Haere mai ki te parakuihi (Come to breakfast). They could then combine their roleplay with their classmates at the breakfast table.

Activity 3

Students will learn how to ask where someone is from and why this is important in Māori.

Watch Unit 1 Scene 2 where Nui meets and greets Sione. Explain to the students that Kia ora is a friendly, casual way of saying Hi, and that another way of greeting someone is Tēnā koe (Hello). Ask the students why they think Nui asks Sione where he is from. Show the students He kōrero whakamārama clip 1 to help explain why this question is often asked when meeting someone for the first time. Ask the students to choose a country that they either come from, or can pretend to come from, for the purpose of this activity. Have them move around the classroom asking each other where they come from. This could be a suburb or town in New Zealand, or another country.

Nō hea koe, [person’s name]? Where are you from, [person’s name]?

The answer to the question:

Nō [name of place] au. I’m from [name of place].

Prepare the cards from Unit 1 Worksheet A that show the name of a person and an island in the Pacific region that he or she comes from. Cut out the cards and give one card to each student.

For the purposes of this activity, students will need to assume the name and the country shown on the card. Let the students practise saying the name of the person and the country on their card.

Have some blank cards prepared so that students can also use their own name and country of origin.

Pair each student with someone from a different country. Have the students move around the classroom together, stopping other pairs of students, greeting them in Māori and asking where they are from, who their friend is and where their friend is from.

Ko wai tō hoa? Who is your friend?
Ko _________ taku hoa. _________ is my friend.
Nō hea koe, Sione? Where are you from, Sione?
Nō _________. From _________.
Kia ora. Thank you.

Activity 4

Students will learn how to say goodbye in Māori.

Watch Unit 1 Scene 3 where Sione and Haami leave for school.

Ask the students to identify the phrase to say goodbye:

Ka kite anō. See you again.

Explain that anō means again.

Other ways of saying goodbye are:

E noho rā [is said by the person leaving to the person who is staying].
Haere rā [said by the person staying to the person leaving].

Have the students make up skits, using the words learnt in this unit, to perform to the rest of the class.

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