About Kupu o te Rā

Kupu o te Rā is a Māori language word of the day service to help you with your vocabulary and grammar, every day!

The 12 Guidelines

In developing new material for Kupu o te Rā we use the following guidelines, which we believe produce the best experience for beginner to intermediate learners. These guidelines have been followed for all the groups of kupu marked with an asterisk (most of them) and these are the only ones that go out to "Option 1" subscribers.

  1. Always start with a simple (beginner/intermediate) example. Add more complex examples if desired.
  2. Endeavour to use examples that people might use in everyday contexts.
  3. Prefer kupu that are frequently used based on Mary Boyce's work, e.g., pātai rather than ui.
  4. Try to use a variety of grammatical forms between examples and within a group: questions, locatives, commands etc.
  5. Avoid using a past tense with active sentences (as the past tends to sound better with the passive voice to native speakers).
  6. Put the kupu title and its translation in lowercase unless it's a proper noun, e.g., tatari/tāria - wait, but Rātū - Tuesday.
  7. Show the most common passive form in the kupu title, e.g., karanga(tia).
  8. If a kupu is commonly used as a verb and as a noun e.g., karanga, show an example of it as a verb (unless this is rare); optionally add an example with it as a noun.
  9. If a verb tends to take ki, use an active sentence to demonstrate this.
  10. Get work checked by a linguist.
  11. Get work checked by a native speaker of te Reo Māori.
  12. When reviewing work, endeavour to make natural sounding sentences in te reo Māori rather than good translations of the English.


Thank you to Lavina Edwin for the original groups of kupu, initial concept work, ongoing project support and encouragement.

Thank you to Basil Keane from the Māori Translation Service for translating the grammar pages.

Thank you to Danny Makamaka Turuwhenua for making our examples sound natural.

Thank you to Mary Boyce for kupu frequency data and advice on Concordance software.

1000minds Ltd

Computing power is provided by 1000minds Ltd.

Thank you to Manu Edwin for the original graphics and testing.

Thank you to Ray Harlow for his advice and quality control on all of our work, and for the material on relative clauses.

Mā te Reo logo

Thank you to Mā te Reo for their telephone smiles and the financial support to get expert advice.

Thank you to everyone who has sent us feedback. If you have feedback about this site, please send an email to

kaitiaki @ kupu.maori.nz

Kelly Keane and Franz Ombler