Te Reo Māori

My journey in te reo Māori is a bit convoluted…

My wife, daughter, and I relocated to Aotearoa (New Zealand) in early 2008 as I was beginning my Ph.D. research at the University of Otago. My daughter Mālia would have been in the second semester of her junior year in high school here, but was placed in the senior class of Logan Park High School near the university. I had considered taking te reo Māori while there, but decided it would be best to put all of my efforts into my Ph.D. research. Mālia did take te reo Māori at Logan Park High School, and later took it at UH Mānoa while an undergraduate student there.

A few years ago she gave me her copy of “Te Rangatahi Advanced 1″ – the text her Māori class at Mānoa. It sat untouched for a few years, and when the COVID pandemic hit and left most of us with more time on our hands and less mobility, I cracked it open. I worked my way for the first few chapters, noting the similiarities and differences between te reo Māori and ‘ōlelo Hawai‘ī. I thought about the number of friends we made while in Aotearoa and that I have made since, and realized most spoke te reo Māori. I continued working through “Te Rangatahi Advanced 1”, and supplemented it with resources I found on the Internet (see the list below).

In Fall 2020, I learned that UH Mānoa was offering Māori 201 online, and was disappointed to learn it was too late for me to enroll at Mānoa to take the class in fall. I did reach out to the instructor, and he graciously allowed me to follow along unofficially, and provided wonderful support and encouragement. By this time he had moved on to “Te Rangatahi Advanced 2” which I was able to order online from Aotearoa.

I was able to register at Mānoa in time for the spring 2021 semester, and was happy to learn that Māori 202 would be taught, so offically became a student.

Here is a list of resources I’ve found valuable, with some comments:

  • Te Rangatahi, Advanced 1
  • Te Rangatahi, Advanced 2
These books may seem a little dated, but I enjoyed them thoroughly. There are no online audio resources, audio files and such, but the first book is what really sucked me in to te reo. Each chapter has a story that utilizes the words and grammar structures of the language. It took me several months to work through the chapters, which is probably pretty fast for a book of this density, but my background with ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i certainly helped.
  • A Māori Reference Grammar, by Ray Harlow If you are a language geek like me, this is a great help.
  • Te