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A Māori Phrase A Day by Hēmi Kelly

As more and more New Zealanders embrace te reo Māori, it can be a little overwhelming knowing where to start when learning the language.

Fortunately, Hēmi Kelly (Ngati Maniapoto, Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa), a fulltime lecturer in te reo Māori at the Auckland University of Technology understands that.


His first book, A Māori Word A Day, was released in 2018 and gave readers a simple word to use in their day-to-day life for a year.


This release, A Māori Phrase A Day, follows the same format but - surprise, surprise - uses a phrase, rather than a word.


Kelly includes 365 phrases in the book, breaking them into 28 common categories, that include different settings and activities we do every day.


These categories include things like commuting, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, the weather, and relationships, among others.


Each simple phrase has the English translation, as well as notes offering alternative words you could use, different ways to answer a question, information about the etymology of a word, or elements of the Māori culture.


The phrases are relevant and useful and will extend your ability to converse in te reo Māori on a daily basis.


The book doesn't need to be followed page for page, but can be dipped into or searched to find the perfect phrase. Or course, you can follow it methodically, as each phrase can fit into each day.


A simple pronunciation guide at the start of the book is useful for newbies - so too is a quick rundown on numbers, dates, and the time. The back of the book features a selection of other books, not just Kelly's, that can help people on their te reo Māori journey.


Designed to aid you in your learning regardless of whether you're at the beginning of your te reo Māori journey or well on the road to fluency, A Māori Phrase A Day is the perfect addition to any bookshelf. Kelly makes learning, and using, te reo Māori simple and motivating.


As Kelly says, "in order for te reo Māori to live and grow it needs to be spoken everywhere". That goal is a step closer with the addition of this book to our literary landscape.


Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

Raupō, RRP $30.

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