Maori Language Week

Vowel Sounds

There are 5 vowel sounds in Māori:

Māori Vowels: Sounds like the underlined
part of the English word
A Are
E There
I Three
O Or
U Two

If you know Spanish, the vowels have the same pronunciation as those in Spanish.

Vowels can be pronounced short or long.

In written form the long vowel is usually marked with a macron (a line above the letter).

  • e.g. ā (long a sound)

This long vowel sound can change the meaning of a word in Māori. For example:

  • wahine = woman (singular) – pronounced wahine
  • wāhine = women (plural) – pronounced waahine
  • manu = bird
  • mānu = to float


Consonant Sounds

Consonant Pronunciation
R Is pronounced with a slight roll of the tongue. The tongue lightly touches the roof of the mouth once near the front.
WH Is generally pronounced like an F (the top front teeth and bottom lip barely touch).
NG The sound is similar to the middle ng in singing.
T Somewhere between the sound of D and T in English pronunciation.