thumbnail TRM lesson plans levels 7 and 8
Rotarota - Active poetry

Rotarota - Active poetry

Te Reo Māori in English-medium schools

Achievement objective

8.5 Respond to selected and adapted texts in te reo Māori that are about te reo and tikanga Māori.

Learning intentions

Students can:

  • compose a poem from a standard narrative.


At the end of this lesson, students can:

Whakarongo - Listening: Understand much of what other speakers of te reo Māori say about a range of topics.

Tuhituhi - Writing:

  • Write about a range of topics, across a wide range of text types, selecting words and expressions that are appropriate for the purpose and intended audience
  • Use language to entertain and persuade as well as to inform.

Kōrero - Speaking: Use te reo Māori to entertain and persuade as well as to inform.

Mātakitaki - Viewing: Understand the ways in which artists, speakers and writers combine visual and verbal features to present ideas and information to achieve particular effects for a range of purposes and audiences.

Whakaatu - Presenting: Combine verbal and visual features to present ideas and information to achieve particular effects for a range of purposes and audiences.


Maxwell, H. (1995). Ngā Pūkōrero o te Wā 5. Wellington: Te Pou Taki Kōrero

Teachers' notes Kutētē kau

Te Reo Māori in English-medium schools

  • Teachers-notes-Kutete-kau.doc
  • 26 KB
Teachers' notes Tipi koti

Te Reo Māori in English-medium schools

  • teachers-notes-Tipi-koti.doc
  • 26 KB

Lesson sequence

Display and discuss examples of rotarota from the ‘He Rotarota’ Learning Media resource (Code: 10380).

Have the students listen to ‘He Reo Wairua’ by Henrietta Maxwell on the tape ‘Ngā Pūkōrero o te Wā 5’, if available in your school. Alternatively, read the story to students – using Resource sheet 8A. The story is of a girl and her kuia who go diving for kōura. Stop the tape when the girl recalls the waves breaking and the sea being red, (where the narrator says “i tēnei mea”, for example: “E whati mai ana ngā ngaru, whero tonu te kara, whati mai ana ka kitea e mātou whero tonu i tēnei mea …”).

Play the story twice and discuss poetry forms, focussing on the rotarota.

Hand out copies of the two Teachers’ notes: Kutētē kau and Tipi koti for review.

Ask the students to compose their own rotarota using the examples from the Learning Media resource as a guide.

Suggested language focus Suggested vocabulary Notes
Alliteration tērā tētahi
nō muri mai
i taku kitenga atu
Teachers can supply other sentence beginnings students have learnt.
Continuous tense particle
huri ana
rere ana
whero ana
autaia ana
Sequencing ka … ka … kātahi ka… This style is used in narratives to create a quick flow to the story.
Kīwaha expressing surprise kātahi nei
ka mau te wehi
auē taukiri/taukurī e
autaia ana
wai ka mōhio


The teacher may set other poetical genres for the students to compose.
The teacher could describe criteria for the information required in each verse.

Further learning

Explore other genres of creative writing
waiata aroha

Other resources

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori. (1999). He Kohinga Kīwaha. Auckland: Reed. 

He Rotarota [Audio CD, poem cards, teachers' book]. (2001). Available: Te Pou Taki Kōrero (Code: 10380).

Rauemi tūhono