There are five vowels and ten consonants in the Māori alphabet. Listen to the sounds.
Five vowels: a, e, i, o, u
and : ā, ē, ī, ō, ū
Consonants: h, k, m, n, p, r, t, w
two digraphs: wh, ng
(digraphs are two letters that combine to form one sound)
Māori language doesn’t have consonant clusters (consonants that appear together in a syllable without a vowel between them).
Consonants are mainly pronounced as they are in English. The exceptions are:
Varies depending on which vowel appears after it. When succeeded by an ‘a’, ‘e’ or ‘o’, it’s pronounced with little or no ‘s’ sound.
Commonly called a ‘rolled’ r. If you’re able to imitate the purring sound of a cat, you’ll know exactly what’s required to pronounce this consonant. Failing this, the sound you should aim for is something similar to an English ‘d’ – but softer e.g. judder.
The ‘ng’ digraph (the combined sound of two consonants) is said as it sounds in the English word ‘singer’. A common mistake is to pronounce it as it appears in the word ‘finger’.
The ‘wh’ digraph is usually pronounced as an English ‘ f’ sound.
When followed by an ‘i’ or ‘u’, it includes a slight ‘s’ sound, however not nearly as much as an English ‘t’.