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He aha tēnei? - What is this?

Achievement objective

2.5 Communicate about physical characteristics.

Learning intentions

Students can:

  • match written descriptions with visual images
  • identify and record information using pictures to make comparisons (between singular and plural)
  • communicate what people/things are doing.


At the end of this lesson, students can:

WhakarongoWhakarongo – listening: Respond appropriately to simple, familiar instructions and simple questions.

PānuiPānui – reading: Understand short written texts consisting of familiar te reo Māori words, phrases, and sentences.

TuhituhiTuhituhi – writing: Convey simple te reo Māori messages in written form.


Lesson sequence

Using the illustrations on Resource sheet 2A: He aha tēnei?, create an A3 or A4 book to read to the students. Place matching individuals and groups on facing pages, writing sentences to describe them (as set out below).

Each pair of illustrations includes a person or thing by themselves and in a group (as the group activity demonstrates the plural ‘ēnei’). Explain this sentence structure to the students, for example:

He tamaiti tēnei. He tama. This is a child. (It’s) a boy.
He tamariki ēnei. He koa. These are children. (They are) happy.

Continue naming the other nouns pictured:

He wahine tēnei. He ataahua. This is a woman. (She’s) beautiful.
He waka tūroro tēnei. He mā. This is an ambulance. (It’s) clean.
He motupaika tēnei. He pango. This is a motorbike. (It’s) black.

Language to use


te tamaiti the child
ngā tamariki the children
te wahine the woman
ngā wāhine the women
te waka tūroro the ambulance
ngā waka tūroro the ambulances
te motupaika the motorbike
ngā motupaika the motorbike

Verbs (see ‘Further learning’ below)

haere go hīkoi walk
kai eat noho sit
tere fast tangi cry
tatari wait stand/parked


Note that in Māori, plurals are indicated by the definite article ‘the’, that is, ‘te’ (singular), ‘ngā’ (plural).

Note, the plural of wahine is wāhine and the plural of tamaiti is tamariki, but very few Māori words change when made into plurals.

Laminate the pages of Resource Sheet 2A and use the laminated cards to write on so that the sentences can be changed.

Further learning

Using the same display book, make statements about what the people/things are doing, for example:

Kei te aha te tamaiti? What is the boy doing?
Kei te hīkoi te tamaiti. The boy is walking.
Kei te aha ngā tamariki? What are the children doing?
Kei te kai ngā tamariki. The children are eating.
Kei te aha te wahine? What is the woman doing?
Kei te noho te wahine. The woman is sitting.
Kei te aha ngā wāhine? What are the women doing?
Kei te tatari ngā wāhine. The women are waiting.
Kei te aha ngā motupaika? What are the motorbikes doing?
Kei te haere ngā motupaika. The motorbikes are going.

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