The Five-Step Method of Teaching Te Reo

Reo Ora are pleased to announce the launch of our new intermediate and advanced level courses – Te Weu (Level 3) and Te Aka (Level 4) as part of our new Diploma in Te Reo being offered in January 2022. To explain our secret method of learning Te Reo in 75 sentence patterns please read further below.

In our Level 1-2 course of Reo Ora: Ko Te Pū, Ko Te More, students were taught the 30 sentence patterns and 329 words that enable them to acquire a sound understanding of basic conversational Māori. In the Level 3-4 course of Reo Ora: Ko Te Weu, we introduced a further 20 new sentence patterns which may be considered the primary sentence structures of Te Reo Māori. In this Level 4-5 course of Reo Ora: Ko Te Aka, we introduce a further 25 new sentence patterns which may be considered the advanced sentence structures of Te Reo Māori. These 75 sentence patterns are all you need to know to become fully conversant in Te Reo Māori.

The methods and methodologies of our programme have been developed over the last 30 years through rigorous teaching and practice. There are many ways of teaching and learning a language. Learners have different styles of learning, just as teachers have different styles of teaching. For the teaching and learning of Te Reo Māori there are many different ways to learn, from language immersion classes (reo rūmaki) to the Ataarangi method (using coloured rākau or rods) to wānanga ā-iwi (tribal wānanga) to mainstream wānanga (i.e. Te Wānanga o Aotearoa), to polytechnics and universities. Whatever your preferred language learning style is, there is one thing that has not changed and that is, the grammar of the Māori language. In saying that, the main goal of this programme is to ensure that not only do students pronounce and say Māori words and phrases correctly, but that their Māori language grammar is correct.

In my experience as a Te Reo Māori lecturer, I have worked in all the different tertiary sectors of education from wānanga, to polytechnics to universities. During this time, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to learn and observe the different ways of teaching Te Reo Māori in different settings. Each of these institutions have their own unique style of teaching, their own curriculum, their own tribal protocol and dialects. However, no matter where you learn or how you learn, the language content and grammar of Te Reo Māori, remains the same. What makes this course unique is that we have developed a methodology and a method that will improve your proficiency level (kōunga reo) from Beginner (Te Kore) to Intermediate (Te Pō) to Advanced level (Awatea) by teaching you 75 sentence patterns that will enable you to speak, listen, read, and write Māori with competence and confidence.

How do we teach you these 75 sentence patterns? In our Beginner Level course of Reo Ora you learn the 30 basic language patterns of Te Reo Māori in a 12-week block. Once you have successfully completed the Beginner Level course you will progress to the next level. In this Intermediate Level course of Reo Ora you will learn a further 20 sentence patterns (in a 12-week block). Finally, in our Advanced Level course of Reo Ora, you will learn the next 25 language patterns (in a 12-week block). We use this book, and a high-tech online course, to help you become completely proficient in Te Reo Māori, via three separate courses and over three progressive 12-week blocks. Each 12-week block requires 100 hours of self-directed learning through our online course of Reo Ora ( as well as the books and resources provided.

What is our method of teaching and learning? We have a Five-Step method which is explained below:

Step 1: Me whakaatu – First, we show you the Māori sentence pattern. For example.

Kei te hanga a Heta i te whare – Heta is building the house.

Step 2: Me whakahua tika – Second, we teach the learner how to say the sentence correctly. For example – Please repeat this sentence after me. Kōrero mai:

“Kei te hanga a Heta i te whare”

It may take the learner several attempts at saying the sentence before saying it correctly. However, it is important for the teacher not to scold the learner if they inadvertently mispronounce the sentence. Rather, the teacher will gently repeat the word or phrase to the learner, until they say it correctly.

Step 3: Me āta whakamārama – Third, we carefully explain the grammar and structure of the sentence in a simple formulaic way, without using too much “techno babble”. For example:

The structure of this sentence is VSO which means Verb + Subject + Object

Kei te hanga a Heta i te whare

What is the verb in the above sentence? The correct answer is “hanga” which means “build”. What is the subject in the above sentence? The correct answer is “Heta”.

What is the object in the above sentence? The correct answer is “whare”.

Now, let’s put it all together with our formula – VSO (Verb + Subject + Object)

Kei te hanga a Heta i te whare

Verb Subject Object

Heta is building the house

Step 4: Me Whakaharatau – You must practise and repeat this sentence pattern at least 3 times with different examples of the same pattern, and with different words, each time. For example:

a) Kei te tahitahi a Heta i te whare

Heta is sweeping the house

b) Kei te tahitahi a Heta i te papa

Heta is sweeping the floor.

c) Kei te horoi a Heta i te waka

Heta is washing the car.

Linguists say: “Repetition of sentence structure is the most effective way of learning a language”.

The more repetition of sentence pattern, you use, the better. The key is to make sure that you have very clear examples and explanations which the learner will remember and use in everyday situations.

Step 5: Me Whakamāori tika – Next, the learner must translate the sentence pattern correctly, into Māori, on their own. For example: Whakamāoritia tēnei kōrero. Translate this sentence into Māori.

Mere is washing the car.

Example of an incorrect answer – Kei te Mere a horoi i te waka

The correct answer is – Kei te horoi a Mere i te waka

In the example above, the teacher will gently correct the learner’s grammar and explain why they got it wrong. In the above example, we simply explain that they have put the verb and the subject around the wrong way. This is because the structure of Māori is different to English where you put the subject (Mere), first and the verb (clean), second. In Māori we put the verb (horoi), first and the subject (Mere), second.

So, that explains our simple five-step method. To reiterate:

1. Me whakaatu – Show the sentence

2. Me whakahua tika – Say the sentence correctly

3. Me āta whakamārama – Carefully explain the structure of the sentence

4. Me whakaharatau – Practise the sentence pattern by repeating the pattern, with different examples, at least three times.

5. Me whakamāori tika – Translate the sentence patterns correctly into Māori. The teacher must gently correct any mistakes in the learner’s grammar.

There are four distinct levels of our programme:

Certificate in Te Reo – Ko Te Pū (Beginners – Level One) – 100% online course (12-month subscription to our fully automated APP), six weekly On-Demand lectures with Live Tutorial Chatroom and E-books.

Certificate in Te Reo – Ko Te More (Lower Intermediate – Level Two) – 100% online course (12-month subscription to our fully automated APP), six weekly On-Demand lectures with Live Tutorial Chatroom and E-books.

Diploma in Te Reo – Ko Te Weu (Upper Intermediate – Level Three) – 100% online course (12-month subscription to our fully automated APP) and E-books.

Diploma in Te Reo – Ko Te Aka (Advanced – Level Four) – 100% online course (12-month subscription to our fully automated APP) and E-books.

Check out our comprehensive range of interactive, state-of-the-art online courses and resources that are available at Ko tēnei te karanga ki a koutou! This is our call to action to you! Enrol now with Reo Ora, the world’s most popular Online Te Reo courses – The Certificate in Te Reo (Levels 1 and 2) and The Diploma in Te Reo (Levels 3 and 4). For information packs about our courses, please email: [email protected] . Merry Christmas and a Happy new year!

E ai ki te whakatauākī nei a tōku koroua a Te Rangihau – “Ko te reo te pou tāwhā e iri ai ngā taonga a kui mā, a koro mā”. Waihoki, taiawhio te rere o ngā mihi ki a koutou e pikoko ana ki tēnei taonga tuku iho, ko te reo. Tēnei au, ka mihi ake ki a koutou i runga i ngā kaupapa o te kirihimete me te tau hōu!

Nāku noa nei

Nā Dr. Rāpata Wiri

Kaihautū Mātauranga

Reo Ora Ltd.