In this story, some children learn traditional games and leisure activities when they visit a marae. They enjoy these games so much that they teach them to their whānau, which demonstrates the influence of ako (teaching and learning).
In traditional times, Māori children learned a range of leisure activities and games for pure entertainment and to help develop physical and mental agility.
Whānau would gather at Matariki to participate in the leisure activities that feature in the story. They would also compose waiata and tell stories as a way of passing down inter-generational knowledge.
The Māori concept of ako exemplifies the reciprocity between teaching and learning. Older family members and school teachers are not always the ones who have the knowledge. Adults can learn from children in their whānau and in classrooms, if they are open to being learners.
Before reading the story, talk with students to discover:
Second language tasks/activities
Once students are familiar with the text, you can facilitate some of the second language tasks/ activities below, working to your students’ strengths and interests. The aim is to extend their proficiency and use of te reo in meaningful contexts.
While facilitating these tasks/activities, remember that you don’t have to be the expert. As conveyed in the Māori concept of ako, you may be in the position of being a learner alongside your students. In fact, some students may want to take the lead.
Ka pai tēnā. Nō reira, kia kaha.
For general information on common task types, see He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora. Choose ‘Using tasks and activities’.
Matching (listening or reading) – Students match selected descriptions of leisure activities (oral or written) from the story to the correct pictures, which are randomly spread out.
Cloze activity – Create gaps in the written text for students to complete, with picture support. A cloze is a good way to help students notice the grammar of te reo Māori, as well as improve their prediction skills and encourage them to make intelligent guesses from context and picture cues.
I haere ngā ____ ki te marae.
Tino pai ngā mahi ____.
Ka ____ te wehi!
The gaps in a cloze can represent a consistent part of speech such as nouns or pronouns. Alternatively, words can be deleted at random, for example, every third word.
You can make a cloze exercise easier for students by:
A cloze task can be extended to incorporate listening and speaking, where you read a piece of text and stop at each missing word, so students can suggest an appropriate word to fill the gap.
Text adaptation – Students create their own story about a trip in order to learn different skills, using the language structures in the text as a framework. Examples include a gym, a bakery, or an art studio.
Reversioning (of related reader Tōku Marae) – Students reversion this reader so the focus is on the Māori leisure activities/games in our text.
He wāhi mahi poi. (A place for doing poi.)
He wāhi mahi whai. (A place for doing string games.)
Same/Different (He rite/He rerekē) – Pairs of students design their own same or different task. Each child creates a grid of four numbered squares and draws a leisure activity from the story in each square. Without looking at their partner’s grid, they must communicate in Māori to work out which squares have the same picture as their partner (he rite), and which ones are different (he rerekē).
Some useful language for this activity includes:
Research – Students use an inquiry approach (individually or in groups) to explore a leisure activity practised by traditional Māori. Students could present their findings to the class with a demonstration of the activity. Activities could include those not in the story, such as mū-torere (checkers) or mahi ringaringa (hand games).
Mini book – Print the mini-book template (with instructions), so every child in your class can take home a mini version of this story to read with whānau.
In English-medium ECE settings, where Māori language is a natural part of the programme (as recommended in the Mana reo strand of Te Whāriki), the big books for Reo Tupu stories can be used for shared reading with tamariki.
These stories will allow teachers to weave Māori language and culture into their everyday activities, demonstrating the value they place on te reo and tikanga Māori. This is especially important for enhancing identity, sense of belonging, and well-being. The audio component of the e-books will support teachers and tamariki to pronounce te reo Māori correctly.