Workplace Māori

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Photograph of Victoria University Marae in KelburnOverview:
Poipoia te kakano kia puawai.
Nurture the seed and it will blossom.

In this introductory course, you will learn basic Māori language skills with a focus on office communication and gain an understanding of Māori cultural concepts and protocols as they relate to the workplace. Week-by-week, develop your own mihimihi that can be used at meetings or work events and build your confidence to use te reo Māori every day.

Required materials:
A course workbook is provided.

Target audience:
This course is suitable for all, but is designed particularly for professionals with little or no experience of te reo Māori.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • greet, acknowledge and farewell people in both informal and formal settings
  • introduce yourself with a simple mihimihi (introduction)
  • ask and answer questions relating to:
    • name
    • tribal affiliations
    • whānau and relationships
    • name of organisation
    • workplace roles and responsibilities
    • wellbeing of another person and their family, friends and colleagues
  • introduce yourself when answering the telephone
  • begin to understand Māori cultural concepts as they influence the workplace.

Course outline:
The course covers the following topics:

  •  Week 1: Whakahua kupu – pronunciation
    • Karakia
    • Arapū – alphabet
    • OrokatiI – consonants
    • Oro puare – vowels
  • Week 2: Whakawhanaunga – getting acquainted
    • He kōrero whakamōhio - meeting & introducing other people
    • Mihi ōpaki - informal greetings
    • Poroporoaki - farewells
  • Week 3: Whanau (family)
    • Ētahi kupu whānau - family relationships
    • Tōku whānau – my family
  • Week 4: Tūrangawaewae - A place to stand
    • Nō hea koe? – Where are you from?
    • E noho ana koe ki hea? - Where do you live?
    • E mahi ana koe ki hea? - Where do you work?
  • Week 5: Ngā rā o te wiki – days of the week
    • Ngā tatau: numbers
    • Ngā rā o te wiki: days of the week
    • Ngā marama o te tau: months of the year
    • Kei te pēhea…? - Asking how someone is?
  • Week 6: Kei te tari? kei te mahi – At the office/at work
    • Te waea - On the phone
    • Tuhi reta - Letter and email writing
    • Advocacy for Māori language in your workplace
    • Whakamahi i te reo - Using the language
    • Kei te kihini - In the kitchen
  • Week 7: Tikanga tari - Office tikanga
    • Tikanga Māori in the formal Pōwhiri
    • Tikanga Māori in informal marae or meeting settings
    • Using Tikanga Māori in the workplace
  • Week 8: Aromatawai
    • Mihimihi
    • Where to from here?

Learning activities focus on listening, speaking, reading and writing te reo Māori. To reinforce your learning homework is encouraged. There is no formal assessment.

Tea, coffee and a light snack is provided. You are welcome to bring further refreshments if you wish.

Class limit: 
This course is limited to a maximum of 20 participants, so please enrol early.


Shanara Wallace is a descendant of Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga, ki Wairarapa hoki and is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Te Reo Māori, Māori Studies and Māori Resource Management. She developed a love for teaching the language over the past two years and her dream is for Te Reo Māori to have equal value and use as English in the mainstream.

"Great learning environment and really enjoyed the course which was delivered well.", Workplace Māori (2019)

“I really enjoyed this course - it covered a lot of ground but was well structured and allowed for practical use of the language we were learning”, Workplace Māori (2019)

“It was a very safe place as I felt quite vulnerable learning a new language”, Workplace Māori (2019)

Relevant links:
Te Kawa a Māui
Everyday Māori for Beginners
Everyday Māori - Level 2
Language Learning Centre

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email:

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.