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Embracing Te Reo Māori with Te Whare Tapa Whā

We've got a whole wiki of ideas to inspire you and your tamariki to grow and develop your te Reo Māori while continuing their hauora learning with Te Whare Tapa Whā. These activities can be done individually or across any wiki to bring some hauora goodness to each day while also connecting with each aspect of Te Whare Tapa Whā 

Firstly, the science...

Learning new kupu along with thinking about new ways to care for our hauora promotes and enhances social inclusion and provides loads of opportunities to connect with our Aotearoa culture and history. When there is higher levels of social inclusion and acceptance among a community there is overall better hauora and care for not only those among the community but also the wider society. 

Why this activity?


These activities will all be awesome to do during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori because they support tamariki to learn, kōrero and waiata te Reo. Know though that these activities can be activated anytime of the year, and repeated. 

What to do

Start the wiki with a kōrero about Te Whare Tapa Whā and its pou (taha tinana, taha hinengaro, taha whānau, taha wairua and whenua) which all contribute to our hauora. Explain that this wiki while you’ll practice and look at all the ways you can look after yourselves and each other, you’re also going to be taking some time to grow your te reo Māori.  

Print each of your tamariki a Kupu List worksheet and encourage them to complete these as they learn new kupu. 

Mane - Taha whānau - Developing our pepeha

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini - ‘My strength is not of the one, but of the many’

We love the My Pepeha template from our buddies at Tākai. Print one for each of your ākonga.


To start, take some time to reflect on the whakataukī above. Use it to set your intentions, and as a tiny mindful moment. 

It reminds us that our strength often comes from those around us. While each individual person has their own mana, we often find our sense of belonging and happiness with the people who love and care for us. Whānau doesn’t have to include just our family members, it can include all the people we love who give us strength and make us who we are. 

Kōrero with tamariki about how when we learn, connect and speak to our whakapapa we can boost our self confidence. Knowing where we come from and understanding the accomplishments of our ancestors supports us to feel proud of our cultural background. When we think about our whakapapa we can connect and grow our sense of purpose.   

Tamariki may need to connect with whānau to complete their pepeha, and it makes a great whānau kōrero that reinforces all of what we've noted above.

Tūrei - Taha hinengaro – Mindful coloring out in te taio 

He manu hou ahau, he pī ka rere - ‘I am a young bird, a chick learning to fly’


Prepare by printing this ka rawe colouring sheet from Kuwi and Friends for each of your ākonga. It that supports tamariki to learn ngā kākahu - the kupu for their clothing!

We love this whakataukī and you may like to use it to begin your day together reflecting tamariki experiences of when they've felt joy when learning new things. The Māori language is a taonga (treasure) where we can learn to express our own gifts, thoughts, feelings and ideas. 

You might like to complete this mindful colouring activity after kai, or when tamariki need a bit of calm time, you may even take the mindful colouring outside. Grab a hard book to lean on, and colouring pens or pencils, sit under a rākau and take in the smells and sounds around while colouring. You may even start or finish this time with some Puku Breathing


Be sure to too to check out the other cool printable from Kuwi & Friends.

Wenerei - Taha wairua – Kura Kupu find  

Kia hora te marino, kia whakapapa pounamu te moana, kia tere te kārohirohi i mua i tōu huarahi. - ‘May the calm be widespread, may the ocean glisten life greenstone, may the shimmer of light guide you on your way’ 


Prepare for your day by printing off the Kura Kupu Find worksheet – one for each ākonga, or they might work in pairs to support each other's learning. 

We like that today's whakataukī reminds us how much we can enjoy a sense of peace and calm sometimes. Tamariki might want to share some of these special moments.


In today’s kupu find, there are some great kupu such as manahau, menemene and aroha which may help tamariki remember and describe more calm moments. Be sure to encourage tamariki to add these to their kupu lists.  

And a wee note - this activity would be awesome to pair with some refreshers of the Māori alphabet and vowel sounds. 

Tāite -  Taha tinana - Upoko, Pakihiwi (head, shoulders) 

Mauri tū mauri ora, mauri noho, mauri mate - ‘An active mauri, is a healthy mauri’  


To prepare - cue in the YouTube clip from our buddies and Loopy Tunes - Upoko, Pakihiwi (Head, Shoulders) and have the speakers at the ready.


Today's whakataukī reminds us that moving our tinana is really good for us, but also brightens our mood. We might find too that as we head into spring (kōanga) it’s a great time to move with the energy of the taiao as the whenua warms up and our mood along with it. Kōrero with your tamariki about their thoughts on these things.     


As a super simple idea today play the waiata Upoko, Pakihiwi (head, shoulders) - you might like to take this outside. Without fail as the waiata progressively gets faster, the fun factor rises too!


Paraire – Whenua- Exploring new kupu 

Ko au te taiao, ko te taiao ko au - ‘I am the environment and the environment is me’


To prepare you might need to ask tamariki to load the app Kupu - it's one of our faves. 


Use the whakatuakī to kōrero and remember the fun times your tamariki have had out in te taiao. It connects us to the sunshine (Tamanuiterā), to the earth (Papatūānuku), to the ocean (Tangaroa) and to the sky (Ranginui). Reflect on the environment we live in and care for knowing that whether we are active, or just sitting and observing and listening to the sounds around us, spending some time outside is good for us.    


To end the wiki, head outside to explore and choose some aspect of the taiao (rākau, sky, lawn...) or things around your kura to research and find the kupu. Tamariki might use Kupu to do this, or they can do this once they get back to the classroom by asking peers or utilising a Māori Dictionary. Ask ākonga to share their new kupu with the class and remind them to add them to their kupu list

Come the end of te wiki... 

Remind tamariki of their kupu lists and commit to integrating a new kupu each week from their lists to support your te Reo usage together. Perhaps make this part of your Mane mornings together. 

Whānau engagement

Encourage tamariki to continue their learning at home with whānau. Some great ways they might do this is through sharing their pepeha, and their kupu list or coming up with their own for around the whare and about the things they do together. It might also be great share the Kupu app or print another colouring piece from Kuwi & Friends for tamariki to take home too. 

And to add to this...

Another awesome resource that can support tamariki learning in this space is the 'Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary' by Kat Quin and Kuwi & Friends Te Reo Māori map of Aotearoa (A3 Poster)


And if you loved bringing some Te Whare Tapa Whā into your wiki you might also like some of the other Whare Tapa Whā activities from our mahi including Big and Positive emotions with Te Whare Tapa Whā which is all about exploring how we can evoke positive emotions within ourselves and those around us.  

Curriculum links

Health and PE Curriculum  

Personal Health and physical development: A1 - Personal growth and development 

Relationships with other people: C2 - Identity, sensitivity, and respect 

Social sciences 

Identity, Culture, and Organisation – students learn about the diverse cultures and identities of people within communities.  

Learning languages 

Language knowledge - students develop knowledge of the language, which will, over time, contribute to greater accuracy of use. 

Cultural knowledge - students learn about culture and the interrelationship between culture and language. 

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