Te Reo With Mnemonics: Animal Words

Dog – kurī

A dog and a man are walking along a path. The dog turns to the man and says “Can you carry me for a bit?”

Cat – tori

A cat dressed in a three piece suit with an expensive hat walks down the street with Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron and some other Tory Party politicians (use the closest to a Tory politician you can think of).

Bird – manu

A bird flies through the forest, and as it lands it takes the form of a man (if you know a man named Manu, imagine it taking his form).

Pig – poaka

Two pigs walk up to a sleeping woman. “Is she awake?” one asks. “I don’t know – poke her.” The first one then pokes the sleeping woman with a trotter.

Rat – kiore

A rat runs through a restaurant with an apple core in its mouth.

Chicken – pī

A chicken struts along the ground pecking at peas.

The Maori word for billy goat – koati toa – shares a k-t-t- pattern with the English word ‘quartet’

Mouse – kiore iti

[Literally means “small rat”] A mouse is busy eating an apple core. The mouse is the core eater.

Horse – hōiho

Eeyore the donkey from Winnie the Pooh series walks through a paddock, only instead of a donkey he is a horse.

Billy goat – koati toa

Four billy goats sing in a barber’s shop. They are the Billy Goat Quartet.

Deer – tia

A deer emerges from the forest wearing a scintillating tiara.

Cow – kau

A cow in a skirt hits a golfball off a tea. She is the famous bovine golfer Lydia Kau.

Fish – ika

A boy runs up behind a girl and places a fish on the back of her neck. The girl shrieks: “EEEK!”


The above is an excerpt from the upcoming Learn Maori Vocabulary With Mnemonics, by Jeff Ngatai, due to be published by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2017/18.

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