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Taku Whānau / My Family

Taku Whānau / My Family

Storyline / Kiko

This story is about an only child, Iraia, who introduces his family members and then shares some exciting news.

Achievement Objectives / Whāinga Paetae

Students should be able to:

  • 1.2 introduce self
  • 1.4 communicate personal information
  • 2.1 communicate relationships between people.

Te Aho Arataki Marau mō te Ako i Te Reo Māori - Kura Auraki

Learning Context / Kaupapa

This story relates to the topic of Ko au/I, me, myself (Unit 1) in He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora.


He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora


The story reinforces the animation Taku whānau in He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora.

Assessment / Aromatawai

Learning intentions and success criteria have been included in these teachers’ notes (see rubrics below) to help determine student progress.


The format of the rubrics is similar to He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora. They allow for student self-assessment, as well as assessment by:

  • other students (tuākana and tēina)
  • teachers
  • whānau (as a way of engaging families and promoting a partnership between home and school).

The three tohu/symbols in the rubrics indicate different steps of learning, as depicted in this poutama pattern.

Proverb / Whakataukī

Ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi.

When the worn-out net lies in a heap, the new net goes fishing.


When an elder is no longer fit to lead, a healthier and younger leader will step up in his or her place (inter-generational succession).

Cultural Knowledge / Tikanga 

It’s important to have a sense of belonging – knowing where we come from (our tūrangawaewae) and where we fit in the whānau (our whakapapa/genealogy).


The word whakapapa derives from the idea of ‘stacking one thing on top of another, in layers’. In this case, the layers are the generations.


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Knowledge of whakapapa is extremely important to Māori. It has implications for leadership and mana, with its associated responsibilities. It also has implications for land/fishing privileges (rights), for example, when establishing title to land through the Māori Land Court.


Links within one’s iwi are important, as are links across iwi. The word iwi means ‘bones’ as well as ‘tribal people’, which is fitting when we consider the respect Māori show to the whenua (land), because their ancestors’ iwi are buried there. Hence the importance of the government’s repatriation (since 2003) of kōiwi and koimi tangata (Māori and Moriori skeletal remains) from overseas institutions. In the Māori world, the dead are important to the living.


Note the difference between the Māori notion of whakapapa and the European notion of genealogy as Māori make links not just to people but to other living beings, including the earth and sky, Papatūānuku and Ranginui and their offspring such as Tangaroa (god of the sea) and Tāne-mahuta (god of the forest). That is, whakapapa links all people back to the land, sea, and sky.


In reciting their whakapapa, some orators have a rākau whakapapa – a stick with indented notches representing their ancestors – as shown on pages 2–3 in the story.


The tuakana/teina relationship alluded to in the story is portrayed in a Māori proverb as a mutuallybeneficial relationship, where both parties gain something:


Mā te tuakana, ka tōtika te teina.

Mā te teina, ka tōtika te tuakana.


From the older sibling, the younger one learns the right way to do things. From the younger sibling, the older one learns to be tolerant.



Pre-Reading / I Mua Atu

Before reading the story, talk with students to discover:

  • their previous experiences in relation to the picture on the front cover
  • their prior knowledge of relevant vocabulary, language structures, and Māori concepts.

Flashcards / Whakaahua

You could create flashcards to show images of the following content words:

pāpā – dad
māmā – mum
mātua – parents
koro – grandfather
kuia – grandmother
tuakana – older brother
teina – younger brother
huatahi – only child
hapū – pregnant

Other Words / Ētahi Atu Kupu

Other words in the text include:

hoa – friend
hiamo – excited
māku – for me
kare kau – none at all
i te taha o – on the side of

Grammar / Wetereo

This story includes the following language structures:

  • conjunctions engari (but) and nō te mea (because)
  • descriptive sentence starter He (He huatahi au. I’m an only child.)
  • use of ko to specify people’s names (Ko Hone taku pāpā. Hone’s my dad.)
  • use of Kei te to denote a present state (Kei te hiamo au. I’m excited.)
  • interrogative Ko wai, meaning ‘Who’ (Ko wai taku tuakana? Who’s my older brother?)
  • formulaic expression to state one’s name Ko ….. au (Ko Iraia au. I’m Iraia.)
  • pronouns au/ahau (I/me)
  • unusual case of a plural being denoted by addition of a macron (matua = parent; mātua = parents)
  • singular possessive taku, meaning ‘my’ (there are other words for the singular possessive ‘my’, but this is the easiest)
  • plural possessive aku, meaning ‘my’ (there are other words for the plural possessive ‘my’, but this is the easiest)

Follow-Up / I Muri Mai

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’.


He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora


Matching (listening or reading) – Students match selected pieces of oral or written text from the story to associated pictures that are randomly spread out.


Multi-choice (listening or reading) – Students decide which statement best applies to a picture from the text. For example, for the picture of Iraia’s paternal grandmother, Arahia, you might suggest four possibilities:

Ko Mandy taku kuia.

Ko Arahiataku kuia.

Ko Andrew taku kuia

Ko Terewa taku kuia


Cloze activity (with or without picture clues) – 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 cues.
For example:

Ko wai taku tuakana _____ taku teina?
Kare kau. He huatahi ______ .
Engari kei te _____ taku māmā.


The gaps can represent a consistent part of speech, such as nouns or pronouns. Alternatively, words can be deleted at random, for example, every third word.


Teachers can make a cloze exercise easier for students by:

  • telling them how many letters are in the missing word
  • providing the first letter
  • giving the students a list of words to choose from.

This task can be extended to incorporate aural and oral modes, where you read a piece of text and stop at each missing word, so students can suggest an appropriate word to fill the gap.


Whakapapa chart – Once they are familiar with the conversations and layout of a famiy tree, as in Resource Sheet 1.4, students can depict (and verbalise) Iraia’s three-generation family tree. (This is shown on page 3 of these teachers' notes.)


Flashcards – Students learn the words for other whānau/family members, by using the flashcards from Resources sheet 1.1.

For example:

tuahine (sister of a male)

tungāne (brother of a female)

whaea-kēkē (aunt)

matua-kēkē (uncle)

kaihana (cousin)


Bingo – Students consolidate names for additional whānau/family members by playing Bingo, using Resource sheet 1.2.


Animation – Students review the words for whānau/family members, in context, by watching the animation Taku whānau.


The animations from He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora are supported with useful information including storyline, grammar, Māori transcript, and English translation. Before showing the animations, make sure you are familiar with this information.


Arts and visual language – After reading Nanny’s Tokotoko (see Stories/Pakiwaitara on page 6), students could create their own rākau whakapapa, with markings to indicate who’s who in their whānau.


Video recording – Students recite their whakapapa on video taken on a cell phone or tablet. They could use their rākau whakapapa as a memory aid.


Information transfer – Each student draws an outline of their own whakapapa chart (two or three generations, minus family names except for their own) similar to that in Resource sheet 1.6.


They can give their outline to a partner and tell him or her who’s who in their family tree. Their partner writes the names in the correct places on the outline, according to the information they are given. For example:

Ko Ana taku whaea. Ana is my mum.

Ko Rawiri te mātāmua o te whānau. Rawiri is the firstborn of the family.

Ko Anaru te matua kēkē o Mikaere. Anaru is the uncle of Mikaere.

He huatahi a Arahia. Arahia is an only child.

I te taha o taku pāpā, ko Jack taku koro. On my dad’s side, Jack is my grandfather.


Students may like to use their rākau whakapapa to complement their oral delivery.


Playing cards – Students play Happy Families (using a commercial pack or cards they have made themselves), where they ask their fellow players for specific whānau members, for example:

Kei a koe te tamāhine o …? (Do you have the daughter of …?)

Homai koa. (Please give it to me.)


Text adaptation/reversioning – Using the language structures in this story as a framework, students compile photos or drawings to introduce family members. This could be in the form of individual cubes with a photo/picture on each surface, or in their own whānau book.

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Same /Different (He rite/ He rerekē) – In pairs, students use Resource sheet 1.8 to discuss two family tree diagrams that contain similarities and differences such as iwi, gender, and age. This task is difficult but useful for extension.

For example:

Ko Hēmi te koroua: Hemi is the grandfather. (Same/He rite – across both students’ sheets)

Ko Ihapera te hoa-wahine o Tiaki: Ihapera is the wife of Tiaki. (Same/He rite – across both students’ sheets)

Ko Arahia te mātāmua o Ihapera: Arahia is the firstborn of Ihapera. (Different/He rerekē – across both students’ sheets)


Information gap/dycomm – In pairs or groups, students use Resource sheet 1.9, combing their respective pieces of information to complete a family tree. This task is difficult but useful for extension.

For example:

Ko Te Kepa rāua ko Hera ngā tamariki o Rāhera rāua ko Rewi. Te Kepa and Hera are the children of Rāhera and Rewi.

Ko Pateriki te tama o Tangiwai. Pateriki is the son of Tangiwai.


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.

Song / Waiata

The following waiata supports the kaupapa of this reader.


Hutia, composed by Tā Hēmi Henare, Ngāpuhi/ Taitokerau, highlights the importance of whānau, as represented in the imagery of the flax bush.


Hutia te rito,

Hutia te rito o te harakeke

Kei hea te komako e ko?

Kī mai ki ahau

He aha te mea nui?

He aha te mea nui o te ao?

Māku e kī atu

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata Hi!


Pluck out the young shoot of the flax.

Where is the bellbird’s call?

It speaks to me.

What is really important?

What in the world is the most important thing?

I say to you it is people, people, people!


Using The Big Books In Early Childhood

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.

Stories / Pakiwaitara

The following stories are relevant to the kaupapa of this reader:


Apanui, Hone. (2005). Taku whānau. Wellington: Learning Media. (A Pīpī book that introduces whānau members, using basic sentences.)


Everitt, H. Māmā. (2000). Wellington: Learning Media. (A Purapura book about a mother and her capabilities.)


Meharry, D. (2006). The talking stick. Auckland: Reed Publishers. (A Māori boy makes a kauri talking stick to preserve the traditional ways of his ancestors.)


Milroy, N. (2003). Taku pāpā. Ngaruawahia: Kia Ata Mai Publications. (Ngā Kete Kōrero story about a father.)


Ministry of Education. (2006). Pōtiki. Wellington: Huia Publishers. (Ngā Kete Kōrero book about a baby.)


Ohlson, M. (2008). Nanny’s tokotoko, School Journal, Part 1, Number 2. (A story about a grandmother teaching her young mokopuna about her whakapapa and the significance of her walking/talking stick.) You can download teacher notes for this story.


Patrick, A. (2017). Tōku Pepeha. Arahia Books. (A young girl introduces different family members and her tūrangawaewae.)


Rau, C. (2002). Kei te hapū a Māmā. Ngaruawahia: Kia Ata Mai Publications. (Ngā Kete Kōrero book about a pregnant mum.)


Taute, H. (2000). Te rā o Māmā. Wellington: Huia Publishers. (Ngā Kete Kōrero book about children celebrating Mother’s Day with their mum, includes teachers’ notes in English.)


Tibble, P. (2001). Tōku tipuna. Wellington: Huia Publishers. (Ngā Kete Kōrero book about a grandfather.)


Watson, T. (2006). Aroha. Wellington: Learning Media. (Purapura book about the arrival of a new baby in the whānau, and featuring a simple family tree.)

Acknowledgements / He Mihi

The author would like to acknowledge the teachers she has worked with over the years, inspiring her to create these books. Ināianei kua mātātupu. Ka tuku mihi hoki ki te whānau Laison nō Taranaki me te whānau Takotohiwi nō Ngāti Awa, who nurtured her in te ao Māori; ko te tino koha tēnā.


She also acknowledges with fondness her Māori tutors during decades of learning, particularly Hirini Mead, Tamati Kruger, Wiremu Parker, Keri Kaa, and Ruka Broughton. Also her two non-Māori mentors and role models, Mary Boyce and Fran Hunia. All these people have added to her kete. Kua whetūrangitia ētahi engari kāore e warewaretia ō rātou mahi maha ki te akiaki i a ia. Hei whakamutunga, ka tuku mihi ki āna mokopuna me āna tama – te pū o ēnei pukapuka.

Taku Whānau / My Family PDF

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