The Māori Picture Dictionary / Te Papakupu Whakaahua | Book Review

With the kids finally due to return to school this week, we thought we’d have some fun with The Māori Picture Dictionary / Te Papakupu Whakaahua as a family, to test our knowledge and learn some new te reo words. And what a fantastic book this is for doing exactly that!

Making a game of it, we got each of the kids to choose a letter from the alphabet and then turn to the pages that represent that letter.

Kia kaha

Jaxon (age 8) first chose the letter ‘S’ and then picked out three words, all represented by beautiful illustrations: strong, surf, and strawberry.

The Māori Picture Dictionary / Te Papakupu Whakaahua

We learnt the Māori words for each of these together: kaha, karekare, and ropere. Then we closed the book and tested his memory – he surprised himself with his ability to recall the te reo words and was super proud of himself.

He loves the word ‘kaha’ so much that he says he’s never going to use the English word ‘strong’ again, he’ll replace it with the te reo word every chance he gets which I think is just brilliant.

Aria (age 5) selected the letter ‘P’ and chose her three favourite pictures on the page. There was lots of laughter at the adorableness of the Māori word for ‘picnic’ which is ‘pikiniki’ – that’s one we’ll never forget and Aria loved the sound of it, saying it over and over again.

The Māori Picture Dictionary / Te Papakupu Whakaahua

Learning te reo

The beauty of this book is that it is incredibly engaging for both kids and adults, with gorgeous illustrations corresponding to each word. It’s fun and easy to use, and the words are those most commonly used in daily life which makes it relevant to everyone.

There are also sections of the book which cover numbers, days of the week and months of the year with themes of school, home and the marae. For quick reference, there is also an index of Māori to English words at the back.

As a parent, I’m very aware that my te reo needs improvement and I found this book was a playful way of immersing the whole family in learning new words. The kids loved that we were learning with them and took the opportunity to test us on words just like we were testing them, so it was the kind of game they wanted to keep playing for ages.

The Māori Picture Dictionary / Te Papakupu Whakaahua | Book Review

Word of the day

We’ve decided we’ll each choose a ‘Word of the Day’ every day of the week and teach it to the rest of the family – a fantastic new routine for the beginning of the school year and one which we will keep up as the year progresses.

This book is a great introduction to the Māori language and well worth having in your home. You’ll be surprised how often you refer to it!

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