The Name Game (Te Reo)

One of my pet hates is poor pronunciation of Māori placenames.  Not that I aren’t guilty of lapsing into provincial vowels sometimes, Taupo being a particularly difficult one. Being Pākeha I have internalised the mispronunciation of a lot of the places most familiar to me – Matamata, Te Aroha, Tauranga, Mt Maunganui – and need to consciously strive to correct them.

As part of Leoni’s Te Reo SPIN, one of our homework tasks was to produce a game or resource the whole class could use to help practice and improve the pronunciation of Māori kupu (words). This assignment is a great example of how Leoni encourages her students to take ownership of their learning, by devising ways to help teach other. The work was pitched to allow students at different levels to be able to create something useful whether it be a simple way of getting vowels correct or something a little more challenging like saying Mangatainoka correctly…

The equipment for the game I created consists of a series of placenames on cards (file attached at the end of the post if you’d like to print a copy), on the back of each card is a number of points (5, 10 or 15 depending on difficulty).


Each player picks up a card and holds it in front of them. The first player to go must tell a short (1-2 sentence) story of a journey they took from the place in the card they are holding to a place on another player’s card ie. “It was a hot day in Paeroa, so I decided to ride my bike to Whangamata for a swim”. If they pronounce the name of the other person’s card correctly they take the other person’s card and earn the number of points on the back of it. If they do not get the pronunciation correct they re-try until they have it correct, however do not get the points.

The person who held the destination card then goes next, using either their original card (if the previous person did not get it right) or drawing a new card.

There are several ways to vary the rules – to ensure everyone gets a turn, or remove the points system, for instance – and the cards can also be used just as flash cards for practicing pronunciation.

The game seemed to work quite well and be enjoyed. From my own experience of having internalised a lot of incorrect pronunciation, it is much better to learn to say things correctly than try to re-learn them later…

<Feel free to download and use or adapt the pdf as you wish>


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