fun at marae thumb
He Mahi Pārekareka kei te Marae / Fun at the Marae

He Mahi Pārekareka kei te Marae / Fun at the Marae

Storyline / Kiko

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).

Achievement Objectives / Whāinga Paetae

Students should be able to:

  • 3.1 communicate about customs
  • 3.2 communicate about events and where they take place.

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

Learning Context / Kaupapa

This story relates to the topic of Te marae/The marae (Unit 8) in He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora.


He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora

Assessment / Aromatawai

The learning intentions and success criteria below will help determine students’ progress.


The format of the rubrics is similar to that in He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora, allowing 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 the poutama pattern below.

Proverb / Whakataukī

He Manu Hou ahu, He Pī ka rere.

I am like a fledgling a newborn bird learning to fly.


This proverb can apply to a child learning a new skill. It is well-known in Ngāti Awa, as it was reportedly spoken by the chief Te Mautaranui on his death bed. It is also the motto of Apanui School in Whakatāne.

Cultural Knowledge / Tikanga 

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.

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:

tamariki – children
tī rākau – stick games
whai – string games
kaimakamaka – knuckle bones
haka – haka
poi – poi
pōtaka – spinning tops

Other Words / Ētahi Atu Kupu

Other words in the text include:

haere – to go
ako – to learn
whakaako – to teach
mahi – activity/activities
rēhia – leisure
pārekareka – enjoyable
nō reira – so

Grammar / Wetereo

This story includes the following language structures:

  • past tense verbal particle (I haere ngā tamariki ... The children went ...)
  • particle ki – to/towards (… ki te marae. ... to the marae.)
  • definite articles te (singular), ngā (plural)
  • intensifier tino – very (Tino pai. Very good.)
  • plural pronoun rātou (they)
  • idiom Ka mau te wehi! (Awesome!)

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 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.

For example:

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:

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

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.

For example:

He wāhi mahi poi. (A place for doing poi.)

He wāhi mahi whai. (A place for doing string games.)


You can download the teacher notes for Tōku Marae and listen to a song version of this reader.


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).

For example:

Person A


Person B


Some useful language for this activity includes:

  • pouaka (box)
  • pouaka nama rua (box number two)
  • tuatahi, tuarua, tuatoru (first, second, third)
  • He aha? (What?)
  • kei roto i te pouaka (in the box)
  • te pouaka tuawhā (the fourth box)
  • He aha kei roto i te pouaka tuarua? (What’s in the second box?)
  • he (a/some)
  • Haere ki te pouaka tuatoru. (Go to the third box.)

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.


Song / Waiata

The following waiata will support the kaupapa of this reader:

Ko tōku marae tēnei

He wāhi pōwhiri – pōwhiri

Ko tōku marae tēnei

He wāhi whaikōrero – whaikōrero

He wāhi waiata. He wāhi hongi. He wāhi manaaki

He wāhi tākaro hoki

Ko tōku marae tēnei. (Repeat verse)

Tūturu whakamaua kia tina – tina. Hui e taiki e.

This is my marae (home)

It is a place of welcome

This is my marae

It is a place of whaikōrero (formal speech making)

A place for singing. A place where we hongi.

A place of hospitality.

A place to play too.

This is my marae. (Repeat verse)

Let us uphold the message in this song. In unison as one.

  • songs suitable for welcoming visitors onto the marae include: Tēnā koutou, Tihei mauri ora, Tōia mai te waka, Toro mai tō ringa, and Ngā iwi e
  • songs suitable for visitors to sing to their hosts on the marae include: Ko mātou and Mihi mai
  • songs suitable for locals or visitors to sing on the marae include: Whakarongo ake au and E toru ngā mea.

These songs are available at Hei Waiata, Hei Whakakoakoa.

  • The song Kei te ako au could be adapted using words from the story, as follows:

Kei te ako au (x2)

Kei te ako au ki te mahi poi

Kei te ako au (x2)

Kei te ako au ki te mahi poi. AUE!


Kei te ako au (x2)

Kei te ako au ki te mahi whai

Kei te ako au (x2)

Kei te ako au ki te mahi whai. AUE!


Kei te ako au (x2)

Kei te ako au ki te haka e

Kei te ako au (x2)

Kei te ako au ki te haka e. AUE!


I am learning

I am learning to do poi/string games/haka. AUE!

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, H. (2005). Haka! Wellington: Learning Media. (Pīpī book that introduces the haka.)


Beyer, R, & Wellington, L. (2019). The marae visit. Auckland: Duck Creek Press. (Children visit a marae and participate in games.)


Gunson, B. (2006). Tōku manawa. Wellington: Huia Publishers. (A wordless book from the Ngā Kete Kōrero series, featuring a kuia showing her mokopuna their mountain, river, and marae.)


Jakeman, N. P. (2008). Engari, mō te aha? Wellington: Learning Media. (Purapura book about a celebration on the marae.)


Jury, Rangi Te Whiu. (2009). I roto i tōku wharenui. Wellington: Learning Media. (Purapura book about a boy learning about his wharenui.)


Nohotima, P,. & Goulton, F. ( 2004). Tōku whare. Wellington: Learning Media. (Simple Pīpī book showing someone making a cardboard model of a wharenui.)


Rau, C. (2001). Ngā ringawera. Ngaruawahia: Kia Ata Mai Publications. (Ngā Kete Kōrero book introducing the ringawera (kitchen worker) on the marae.)


Rau, C. (2001). Te hongi. Ngaruawahia: Kia Ata Mai Publications. (Ngā Kete Kōrero book introducing the hongi.)


Rego, M. (1992). At the marae. Wellington: Learning Media. (Ready to Read story (in English) about a young Pākehā girl’s experiences during her first visit to a marae. You can watch the story here.)


Te Awa, M. (2009). Tōku marae. Wellington: Huia Publishers. (Ngā Kete Kōrero book showing the different purposes of a marae.)


Te Awa, M. (2000). Ngā mahi rēhia. Wellington: Huia Publishers. (Ngā Kete Kōrero book showing traditional Māori pastimes.)


Teepa, W. (2015). Matariki. Wellington: Ministry of Education. (A Ready to Read book that explains the background to Matariki, including its association with the stars and the leisure activities families participate in. You can watch the story here.)


Williams, F. (1999). Tōku wharenui. Wellington: Learning Media. (Ngā Kete Kōrero book introducing the main parts of the wharenui.)

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, and 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.

He Mahi Pārekareka kei te Marae / Fun at the Marae PDF

  • Fun-at-the-Marae_Teacher-resource.pdf
  • 2.2 MB
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