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Ko wai ō mātua? - Who are your parents?

Achievement objective

2.1 Communicate about relationships between people.

Learning intention

Students can:

  • communicate aspects of their genealogy
  • understand, and use, the possessives taku, tō, and ō.


At the end of this lesson, students can:

WhakarongoWhakarongo – listening: Get the gist of slightly more complex or less familiar te reo Māori phrases and sentences.

KōreroKōrero – speaking: Ask simple questions and give simple information.

PānuiPānui – reading: Recognise and understand simple, familiar written words, phrases and sentences.

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


Lesson sequence

Each student is given a copy of Resource sheet 2E: Ko wai ō mātua? Ask them to fill in the spaces on the family tree, naming their grandparents, parents/caregivers, and themselves. (This first task can be allocated as homework).

When the students have completed Resource sheet 2E ask each student three questions about their family: Who are your grandparents? Who are your parents/caregivers? What is your name?

Ko wai ō tūpuna? Who are your grandparents?
Ko Mere taku kuia My nanny is Mere
Ko Stephen taku koro My granddad is Stephen
Ko wai ō mātua? Who are your parents?
Ko wai ō mātua whāngai? Who are your caregivers?
Ko Jane taku whaea My mother is Jane
Ko Rod taku matua whāngai My adopted father is Rod
Ko wai tō ingoa? What’s your name?
Ko Jerry taku ingoa. My name is Jerry.

Language to use


koro/koroua grandfather
kuia grandmother
matua father
mātua parents
mātua whāngai caregivers/adoptive parents
whaea mother


Ko wai ō tūpuna/tīpuna? Who are your grandparents?
Ko wai ō mātua? Who are your parents?
Ko wai ō mātua whāngai? Who are your caregivers?
Ko wai tō ingoa? What is your name?

Identify local terms such as kōkā (mother – Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou), whaene (mother or auntie - Taranaki), whāereere (mother - Taranaki).


In a Māori cultural context, it is more appropriate for an individual to identify or name his or her parents first, before introducing themselves.

The word ‘wai?’ when used as a question, means ‘who?’, so ‘Ko wai tō ingoa?’ literally means ‘Who is your name?’.

It is important to consider the diverse forms of families that the students may belong to.

Note the singular and plural forms for the word ‘your’ when showing possession:

English Māori
  Singular Plural
your ō


Write the following three key questions on large cards as a prompt for the students.

Ko wai ō tūpuna?

Ko wai ō mātua?

Ko wai tō ingoa?

Ask the students to work in pairs to ask and answer these questions about their own family.

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