nga tohu thumb
Ngā Tohu o Tāwhirimātea / The Signs of Tāwhirimātea

Ngā Tohu o Tāwhirimātea / The Signs of Tāwhirimātea

Storyline / Kiko

This story looks at the weather over the course of a week, and how it affects a family’s activities. The text uses a range of weather descriptors.

Achievement Objectives / Whāinga Paetae

Students should be able to:

  • 1.3 communicate days of the week
  • 2.4 communicate about weather.

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

Learning Context / Kaupapa

The story relates to the topic of Te huarere/The weather (Unit 4) in He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora.


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 those in 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

He roimata ua, he roimata tangata.

Tears of rain, and tears of humans.


This alludes to the rain that falls and the tears that are shed when someone dies.

Cultural Knowledge / Tikanga 

Traditional Māori had many words and stories associated with the weather because of its influence on everyday life, especially on growing food and fishing. Tāwhirimātea is the kaitiaki (guardian) of the weather. He was one of the children of Ranginui (the sky father) and Papatūānuku (the earth mother). He didn’t agree with their separation, so he vented his anger by sending out:

  • ngā hau e whā (the four winds) – hauraki (north wind), hautonga (south wind), hauāuru (west wind), and haurāwhiti (east wind)
  • uanui (terrible rain), uaroa (long, continuous rain), and uawhatu (fierce hail-storms)
  • whaitiri (thunder)
  • uira (lightning).

The other children of Ranginui and Papatūānuku were:

  • Tangaroa (associated with fish)
  • Rongomātāne (associated with kūmara and cultivated food)
  • Haumiatiketike (associated with fern roots and uncultivated food)
  • Tānemahuta (associated with trees and birds)
  • Tūmatauenga (associated with war).

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, as well as their knowledge of weather forecasts
  • 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:

Tāwhirimātea – guardian of winds and weather
ua – rain
whaitiri – thunder
kapua – cloud
hau – wind
rā – sun
Rāhina – Rāmere – Monday – Friday
mutunga wiki – weekend
tohu – symbol/s
tātahi – beach
kaimoana – seafood

Other Words / Ētahi Atu Kupu

Other words in the text include:

o – of
tēnei wiki – this week
pai rawa – really good
mō – for
nō reira – so
ki – to
heke – to fall
tangi – to sound
puta – to appear
pupuhi – to blow
whiti – to shine
kohi – to collect

Grammar / Wetereo

This story includes the following language structures:

  • interrogative he aha (what)
  • definite article ngā (the, plural)
  • definite article te (the, singular)
  • future tense marker ka (Ka whiti te rā. The sun will shine.)
  • article Ā, to specify a day in the future (Ā te Mane … On Monday …)
  • plural pronoun mātou (we, excluding the listener/s).

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 – Students match pieces of text from the story to associated pictures of the different weather conditions.


Sequencing – Students read and sequence the days of the school week (spread out randomly).


True/False (Kei te tika/Kei te hē) – Students make a judgement on whether a statement about a particular picture in the book is true or false (kei te tika / kei te hē).


For example, for the picture of the wind blowing, the oral or written statement might be:

Ka puta ngā kapua.


If false (as above), encourage the students to ‘make it right’, by providing the correct text that corresponds with that picture, that is:

Ka pupuhi te hau.

Multi-choice – Students decide which of several descriptions best applies to a picture from the text. For example, for the picture of the clouds:

Ka whiti te rā.

Ka puta ngā kapua.

Ka pupuhi te hau.

Ka heke te ua.


Listen/read and draw – Each student uses te reo Māori to communicate orally or in writing to a buddy about what weather condition from the story to depict visually, which can then draw.


Cloze (with or without picture clues) – Create gaps in the written text for students to complete. 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:

Kacte ua.

Ka ______ mātou ki tātahi.


This task can be extended to incorporate listening and speaking, where you read a piece of text and pause so students can suggest an appropriate word to fill the gap. The gaps can represent a consistent part of speech, for example, nouns or pronouns. Alternatively, words can be deleted at random, such as 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 them a list of words to choose from.

Animation – Ngā tohu huarere mō āpōpō in He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora. Students watch the animation to:

  • reinforce sentences from the story (Ka heke te ua. Ka whiti te rā. Ka pupuhi te hau.)
  • learn how to add a place name in a weather forecast (Ki Taihape … In Taihape …).

The animations in 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.


Designing weather flashcards – Students create five flashcards to depict five weather conditions, (labelled on the back in Māori), and use these to test each other.


Information transfer – Read out five statements that forecast the weather for the following school week (not in chronological order). Students have to visually depict that information on a grid (see below) that shows the days of the week in order.



Text reversioning – Students use the framework of this story to create a new story that forecasts different weather conditions from Monday to Friday and ends with a different weekend activity.


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:

  • Ngā rā o te wiki – a song about the days of the week, at Hei Waiata, He Whakakoakoa
  • Kei te kapua – a song about the weather by Mininoa Naden – available in the Te Reo Kori kit from Kohia Resources
  • Uira – a song about lightning, in Kiwi Kidsongs Collection: Twenty-two Favourite Songs from Kiwi Kidsongs 1–8
  • Purea nei (which uses weather words) in Hei waiata mā te katoa/Songs for everyone (pages 6–8).

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.

  • Holt, S. (2012). Anei kē! Te Aroha: The Writing Bug. (Features weather-related language, with accompanying weather noises.)
  • Patrick, A. (2017). Te Tai Rāwhiti. Arahia Books. (Highlights the beautiful weather on the East Coast in contrast with weather conditions in other places in Aotearoa.)

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.


Ngā Tohu o Tāwhirimātea / The Signs of Tāwhirimātea PDF

  • Nga-Tohu-o-Tawhirimatea_Teacher-resourcepdf.pdf
  • 518 KB
Rauemi tūhono