The Maori Wikipedia is a stub. Should it be linked to? -phma 14:09, 29 Feb 2004 (EST)
 Pronunciation Guide
While I've not spent an awful lot of time with the Maori or in New Zealand, I was under the impression that:
Whangarei is said "Fain ga ray"
"wh" as wh in "whale"
"wh" as f in "fang"
But maybe I'm wrong...
It can make "Whakatane" (Fha ka taa nee) childishly amusing in English... I've even heard NZ college kids making light of it on the radio last week.
Ilkirk 09:28, 2 Aug 2005 (EDT)
- Maori is certainly tricky for English speakers to pronounce. As a general rule the words break up into syllables of consonant-vowel pairs. So Whangarei becomes Wh-a ng-a r-e i, though it does tend to sound like Fong AH ray when spoken in English speakers. To make matters worse there is also a variation in dialects between regions. The really tricky sounds are:
- wh - Which sounds like f or even like ph as in photograph.
- ng - sounds like the ng in ping or sing, but with the g part of the sound swallowed or almost unsounded. It is not a natural sound for English speaker as it also gets used at the start and middle of word, not just the end. Some dialect speakers even pronounce the ng almost like k as in kick.
I have lived in NZ for six months. Short time, but long enough to learn that the WHA in Whangarei is truly pronounced more like "Faa" than "Wha" as for example in Whale. Also the example with Whakatane is correct. it is also a clear F sound.
Further to this, please review the following... I've lived in NZ my entire life & have found the previous annotations to be somewhat incorrect. Please accept the following as being accurate:
- Whangarei sounds more like Fong ar ray.
- Whakatane sounds more like Fock ar tar neigh.
- Haere mai (Welcome) sounds like High reh My. The 'r' in Haere is rolled.
We notice that people with Scottish accents pick up Maori with ease as many of the sounds (such as Wh) have that harser note to them & they also roll their R's.
Unfortunately I cannot accurately explain in written english how to pronounce the ng as in nga.
Another thing to note is that Maori is spoken relatively quickly as is English in New Zealand.
Hope this helps, Jeremy.
Some of the examples in the above bit are more a reflection of common anglicisations than correct practice, but common pronunciation is changing towards more traditionally correct sounds. Eg it's common now to hear Whāngarei pronounced with the long first 'a' , whereas I don't think I ever hear that while growing up.
the ng as in nga is much like the tail of 'singer' in New Zealand english. ie without a hard 'g' that some english users would use for that word.
Paraparaumu is a really bad word to chose as an illustrative example, because common practise is so varied. The 'pa ra pa ra u mu' pronunciation in the article is fairly typical of actual usage amongst English speakers, but is incorrect. Correct pronunciation has the first 'u' included in the same sylable as the preceding 'pa', so the sylables run like 'Pa ra pa rau mu', where 'rau' is said much as in the start of 'round' in English, but a bit longer, and with the two vowel sounds a bit more differentiated. If you consciously round your 'rau' you'll likely be close.
Where does the stress lie in words? Is there a rule? Yes, there is a rule. But I dont remember the website that tells you. Just go look up in... GOOOOGGGGLLLLEEEE!
I read somewhere that NGA in Maori words is said as the NGER in words like singer and banger - where you dont pronounce the ng harshly. So its NOT like finGer... anyway I ended up sitting there saying singer over and over again until I could pronounce nga properly!! When you pick that up, its way easier to say things like Whangarei and Tauranga (although Ngunguru still gets me all tongue twisted!!)
 Correct Pronunciation
PLEASE DO NOT LISTEN to the way that LOCAL ENGLISH SPEAKERS pronounce Māori because more often than not, they MURDER the sounds. I have heard many Māori themselves pronouncing placenames as Pākehā do (non-Māori NZers) because if we pronounce the "names" correctly, then Pākehā have no idea what place we are talking about, therefore we are reduced to mispronouncing our placenames for the majority Pākehā population in our country!
- Māori language IS DIALECTAL, as there are different tribes - with each is a different dialect
- Māori words ALWAYS END WITH A VOWEL e.g. kiA, maorI, haerE, torU
- Vowels are sounded individually NOT run together e.g. koe = ko + e (koh + eh / kweh)
- Macrons above a vowel mean that you stress the vowel - this is important because, depending on the word, a stressed vowel can give the word a different meaning: wahine (wa-hee-neh) = woman, wĀhine (wah-hee-neh) = womEn
"ng" is soft - sound it out quickly but don't stress the "g": sings / singer NOT sin-Gs or sin-Ger (South Island Māori usually pronounce "ng" as "k" - remember, dialectal) "r" is rolled - sounds like "dd" in teDDybear or daDDy
Whangārei: fah-ngah-reh-ee CLOSE TO: fah-ngah-ray DEFINITELY NOT: FONG-ah-ray
Whanganui: fah-ngah-noo-ee OR hwa-ngah-noo-ee (dialectal difference from Wanganui tribes) NOT: FONG-ah-noo-ee
Haere mai: ha-e-re-ma-ee CLOSE TO: "high-re-my" IF you say it quickly enough
Kia ora: kee-ah-o-rah OR kya-o-rah (the "o" is pronounced as in oar, bore, tore) AGAIN only if you say it quickly enough