thumbnail TRM lesson plans levels 5 and 6
Ko wai ngā atua? – Who are the gods?

Ko wai ngā atua? – Who are the gods?

Te reo Māori in English-medium schools

Achievement objective

5.3  Communicate about past habits and routines.

Learning intention

Students can:

  • specify names.


At the end of this lesson, students can:

Pānui Pānui - Reading: Make use of context and familiar language, to work out relationships between things, events, and ideas.

Mātakitaki Mātakitaki - Viewing: Understand and respond to information and ideas encountered in a variety of visual contexts.

Kōrero Kōrero - Speaking: Initiate and sustain short conversations.

Lesson sequence

The following lesson can be built around catering work; for example, during a shared lunch or wānanga at a marae
As the whānau prepares kai, ask the students questions about the Māori gods associated with that kai, for example:

Ko wai te atua o te kūmara? Who is the god of the kūmara?
Ko Rongo te atua o te kūmara. Rongo is the god of the kūmara.

Language to use

Ko wai te atua o te wai māori? Ko Parawhenuamea te atua o te wai māori.
Ko wai te atua o te whenua? Ko Papatūānuku.
Ngā kai (Food) Ngā atua (Gods)
kūmara Rongo
pipi Tangaroa
kūtai Tangaroa
wai māori Parawhenuamea
manu (tītī, heihei)



When preparing the menu for the kai, ensure the inclusion of the food types to be discussed. 
Remind the students that different iwi may have different versions of stories of atua Māori, for example, in Kai Tahu, Ranginui is called Wātea.

Further learning

Discuss other features of the relationship between Māori and the environment on a bush walk, or by looking around the school; for example:

ngā whare Tāne Mahuta/Rongo
te whenua Papatūānuku
te kohu Hinepūkohurangi
ngā rākau (including Māori names) Tāne Mahuta
te marae ātea Tūmatauenga
te ua Tāwhirimātea
ngā hau Tāwhirimātea
ngā awa


Reinforce the sentence structure by asking questions about people and their responsibilities:

Ko wai te kaiako o te mahi hākinakina? Who is the sports teacher?
Ko wai te rangatira o te tīma poi tarawhiti? Who is the captain of the netball team?

Other resources

  • Orbell, M. R. (1998). A concise encyclopedia of Māori myth and legend. Christchurch: Canterbury University Press.
  • Whakapapa pertaining to Tāne Mahuta
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