Master the Maori alphabet

Quickly master the basics of the Maori alphabet and pronunciation

Part of learning any language, including learning Maori, requires accurate pronunciation of words. This will help you be understood by others and also help you to listen to spoken Maori more effectively and accurately.

Try these below tips using our suggested Maori phrases!

When broken down, the Maori alphabet actually has fewer letters than in English. The letters in the Maori alphabet are the following:

The five vowels: a, e, i, o, u
The eight consonants: h, k, m, n, p, r, t, w
The two digraphs (two letters that combine to form one sound): wh, ng


Pronouncing Maori correctly requires accurate vowel pronounication. Each vowel in Maori can be pronounced eithe short or long, with a macron (the long, funny looking line above a letter), used to indicate a long vowel. They look like this: ā, ē, ī, ō, ū.

Here’s a basic summary to pronouncing the Maori vowels.

a – as in car
e – as in peck
i – as in fee, me, see
o – as in awe (not ‘oh!’)
u – as in boot

Easy ways to learn the Maori alphabet

Maori alphabet set

Using a few different resources will definitely help you learn the Maori alphabet more quickly. Here are a few that might be fun to try!

Maori alphabet block set. You could try this Maori alphabet block set.

The set includes 24 embossed wooden Maori alphabet blocks.

It's interactive and makes learning the Maori alphabet fun. Plus, you can place this on your coffee table or give them as a gift. They're great for children too.

Maori Alphabet Game

Maori literacy posters

Maori alphabet literacy poster

If you're looking to help you kids learn Maori, this poster fits great in their bedrooms or even in a classroom. There are tons of different variations of these posters. Check them out!

Maori alphabet literacy poster
Maori Literacy Alphabet Poster

How to improve your pronunciation in Maori

There are a few ways to improve pronunciation in Maori. Firstly, understand that pronunciation is a combination of accurate and comprehensive listening skills and speaking skills.

The main piece of advice is to pay close attention to the shapes you make with your mouth as you speak. In English, you’ll create certain shapes with your mouth and make particular tongue movements to create sounds. The same goes for Maori (and other languages for that matter).

Improve your Maori pronunciation by reading

If you're looking for a book to help you improve your Maori pronunciation, then you should try this book.

Because its a book and CD set, you can make sure that you're getting your pronunciation correct. It's made for total beginners and breaks down pronunciation, syllables, stress and more!

Maori pronounciation book
Pronounce Maori with confidence

Improve your Maori pronunciation by listening

Best Maori podcasts

Improve your Maori pronunciation by speaking

Try to listen to these Maori greetings and then try them yourself!

Radio New Zealand: pronounce Maori greetings.