How to Set-up the Māori Keyboard on your Computer (Mac)

So here’s a fairly practical post about how to set up the Māori keyboard on your Mac computer so you can type the macrons – ā, ē, ī, ō, ū.

Note: Macrons in Māori are called tohutō. Some people call them pōtae (hat). If you have trouble remember the macron in the spelling, try to remember that “tohutō has a tohutō”

  1. Go to Keyboard in your System Preferences by one of two methods:
    • Open Spotlight using the magnifying glass icon spotlight and type Keyboard and press Enter
    • Click on the Apple icon, choose System Preferences, and then choose Keyboard
      systempreferences     keyboard
  2. Choose Input Sources
  3. Click the + plus button at the bottom of the window
  4. Choose Māori from the list and click Add

That’s all. In your top menu bar by your clock, you’ll see a little language flag.
Maori in menu bar
If you click on it you can change between keyboards that you have activated (e.g. Australian and Māori). My advice is that if you type only English and Māori, leave it on the Māori keyboard as then it is always ready to go – it doesn’t cause you any problems when typing English.

So how do you actually type the tohutō?!

It takes a little bit of getting used to, but to type a vowel with a macron, you press the tilde button immediately before pressing the vowel. The tilde button is in the top left of your keyboard and has these two symbols on it ` ~ (the second one is the tilde).


For example, to type the word tohutō, you type t o h u t ~ o. When you press the tilde button, nothing will happen, but when you press the o, the ō will appear. (Try it and it will make a lot more sense.)


Tangaroa – 2 Songs About the God of the Sea

There are many names for the god of the sea, lesser and greater spirits from any place where the people have access to the sea; names as well for the spirits of rivers and lakes, and acknowledgment of the nameless spirits of nearly every pool and spring, no matter how small. This is the way across the whole world, although in some places the names and traditions have been largely lost in the last couple of hundred years, generally alongside industrialisation and/or colonisation.

Luckily, there is both a keeping and a reviving of this knowledge amongst Māori people, and one result of this knowledge is these two amazing songs referencing Tangaroa, god of the sea. The songs are completely different to each other, even though they are using the same subject.

Although my title to the post says Tangaroa – 2 Songs About the God of the Sea I’m not sure “about” is the right word; Tiki Taane’s song is more “about” colonisation (I think), and although Maisey Rika’s seems more straight forward, music is art, so there may be other meanings.

Both songs are in te reo Māori, with a mixture of simple and complex language, and very clearly spoken, so even a beginner should be able to pick out some words and basic phrases. Maisey Rika’s song also has the lyrics and a translation under the “show more”.

Both links below go to YouTube videos.

Tangaroa Whakamautai by Maisey Rika

TANGAROA – God Of The Sea by Tiki Taane


Paipera Tapu – the Bible

Today’s resource is a website providing translations of the Bible in multiple languages, including te reo Māori –

The Bible in te reo Māori isn’t really something that is useful to me personally, but for Christians then this is a great resource – what could be better than a text that you read regularly, with sections you likely know very well?

Regular language practice is probably the most important part of langauge learning, and getting into a habit is the best way to ensure regular practice, and piggy-backing a new habit onto an old one is the easiest way to start that new habit! So if you already regularly read the Bible, it is relatively easy to tag some Māori language practice on to that by reading some of the passages in te reo.

Sources that you know well in one language are often recommended as great practice for your target language. You’ve already got a head-start on comprehension, and it’s probably something you enjoy too. If you’re already familiar with, or even memorised, various Bible passages, then reading them in te reo Māori will be a fascinating exercise where you will hopefully be able to understand the sentence as a whole unit, not just a word-by-word translation as so often happens.

And of course, if you don’t know any passages off by heart, or if you don’t even own an English Bible at the moment, it is easy to get a copy of the Bible in English or any other langauge to compare to the te reo Māori version (including at this website).

View the te reo Māori Paipera Tapu online.

To search for a specific word, topic or passage:

  1. Go to the above link or to the main page at
  2. Enter your search term in the search box
  3. Choose Maori bible (MAORI) from the drop-down
  4. Click Search


Ngā mihi to my friend Tania for sharing this resouces!

Iwa – A Simple Online Word Puzzle

When you’re learning te reo Māori, it can be difficult to find fun language resources to supplement your learning. Although I have a lot to say on that topic, I’m not going to write about it now – instead I’m going to introduce you to one of these fun language resources – an online word puzzle created by one of the commenters here at Whakawhiti i te Arawhiti.

The game is called Iwa, and you may have seen an English language version before in a newspaper or magazine. You are presented with a grid of 9 letters, and you have to make as many (Māori) words as you can. The instructions are pretty simple:

  • Make as many Māori words as you can
  • Minimum word length is 3
  • You MUST use the letter in the middle square
  • Each square can be used only once
  • There is always (at least) one 9-letter word
Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.43.43 pm.png
A screenshot of Iwa showing the grid of letters and goals for numbers of words found!

This is a great puzzle, because although the rules are easy, it is challenging to people of any ability as they struggle to find and remember more words and push themselves to the edge of their vocabulary. Therefore, it is an extensible activity, by which I mean you can keep doing it and benefitting from it as your language ability improves.

The website for Iwa presents you with the grid of letters, but you “play” with pen and paper to write your list of words. When you’re ready to give up, just press the Ngā kupu button to view the list of possible words. What I really like here is that some of the words are hyperlinked to the online Te Aka Māori Dictionary, so you can continue your learning by viewing the definition of any words that pique your interest.

Don’t forget too that you could play with one or more friends – either co-operate as a team to think of the words, or compete against against each other! If someone challenges you on a word, try to explain it’s meaning in te reo!

Give Iwa a go at the website and thanks to commenter orotau for providing this great resource.

Edit: I hope its ok to provide a screenshot, because I do like posts with some pictures.


Ngā Papakupu – Choosing Dictionaries

I don’t know if you like dictionaries (ngā papakupu), but I’ve always found them rather interesting. I used to like just browsing through my English dictionary sometimes, and I often had it near me to look up words when reading – I read a lot of science fiction and science fiction authors tend to have large vocabularies, and they usually have an extensive general knowledge too, so my favourite dictionary was one with “encyclopedic entries” which gave brief details on famous people and places.

As I have progressed through my Māori language learning I’ve bought myself various Māori dictionaries, some out of necessity and some as rewards for completing a year of study. Before studying Māori, I thought that all dictionaries were basically created equal, and I recognised only a few obvious differences. But since then I’ve  discovered that there is a lot more to them than that.

If you are buying a dictionary, these obvious differences are the easiest to consider, and these considerations are relevant when buying a dictionary of any language (including your native language):

  • Size – both physical size and number of words
  • Bilingual or monolingual
    • Is it bilingual in both directions or just one – e.g. is it Māori-English only, or is it Māori-English and English-Māori
  • Example sentences showing how the word is used – does it have them and are they translated
  • Parts of speech – does it tell you the part of speech (noun, intransitive verb, etc)

The following considerations are only relevant for some languages, such as Māori and likely other indigenous languages; they also require a bit more knowledge about the language as a whole, its history and its current status:

  • Loan words – does it contain words introduced into the language from other languages, such as English
  • Age of dictionary content – although all languages are constantly changing, a recently published dictionary is more important for some languages than for others
  • Source of corpus – what was the original source of the words used to create the dictionary

If you don’t know what dictionary to buy, just pick whichever one you like the look of, or whatever someone else recommends. Once you start using the dictionary you will discover what you like and dislike about it, guiding your decision for your next purchase. Borrowing a dictionary from a friend or the library might work too.

I will write a review of each of my Māori dictionaries, hopefully including some of the more subtle points, and post them here when they are done.