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To retain the integrity of the language it is important to learn to pronounce words correctly. There are five vowel sounds in te reo Māori and ten consonant sounds. Vowels can be pronounced ‘short’ or ‘long’. The long vowels are marked with a macron (eg ō). Macrons are used to denote vowels with a long sound. Long and short vowels can completely change the meaning of a word so it’s important to use macrons.
Where two different vowels appear together they retain their basic sound and run together.
a as in but
e as in vet
i as in beat
o as in walk
u as in to
Listen to the short vowels: Short Vowels.mp3
ā as in bar
ē as in dairy
ī as in peel
ō as in bore
ū as in too
Listen to the long vowels: Long Vowels.mp3
There are 10 consonants in the Māori language, they are: h, k, m, n, ng, p, r, t, w, wh.
Listen to consonants: Consanants.mp3
An additional audio guide to the correct pronunciation can be found on the Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori, Māori Language Commission website.
You can view a guide to setting up macrons on your keyboard.
Page authorised by Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori
Last updated on Monday 10 September 2018