Mnemonic Monday – Marama/Mārama

I thought of doing some regular posts for mnemonics. I don’t know if there’s a Māori word for mnemonic – whakamaharatanga is already taken (meaning memorial or commemoration or similar). I was thinking I could call my mnemonics posts “Mnemonic Monday” – but of course the alliteration doesn’t work. Oh well, lets do it anyway!

For our first Mnemonics Monday we have the words marama and mārama.

  • marama means month or moon
  • mārama means to understand (amongst other things)

Most people learn these words fairly early on, but someone in my TWoA class came up with a good way to remember which one has the tohutō (macron) and which one doesn’t – which is something I ALWAYS used to forget until now.

So, how do you remember whether the tohutō goes in the word for moon, or the word for understand? Well, another word for tohutō is pōtae, meaning hat. A hat goes on your head and you use your head to understand. So, you know that mārama, with the hat, means to understand!


  • On the left, the moon with the words “He marama tēnei” (This is a moon)
  • On the right are three women graduating, wearing their graduation pōtae, with the words “Kei te mārama rātou” (They understand)

Let me know if this helps you too!


2 thoughts on “Mnemonic Monday – Marama/Mārama

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