Te Reo With Mnemonics: Rugby Positions

Lock – kaiwhītiki

Two very tall men, wearing numbers 4 and 5, sit in a cafe wearing tikis and drinking coffee. They are wearing the cafe tikis.

Loosehead Prop – pou waho

The camera shows a heavy-set man wearing a number 1 jersey. Behind him, in the crowd, is a man with a foam “We’re No. 1” hand, and he shouts “Wahooo!”

Tighthead Prop – pou roto

A heavy-set man wearing a number 3 jersey floats down to the ground by means of a helicopter rotor sticking out of his jersey.

Blindside Flanker – pou kāpō

A car pulls up at a rugby ground and four men wearing number 6 leap out. The blindside flankers had been carpooling.

Openside Flanker – pou tuwhera

A tooth fairy wearing a number 7 jersey floats down to take place on the side of a scrum.

Halfback – kairau

A short man wearing a number 9 jersey runs through the streets of Cairo, stopping to pick up a ball from the ground and pass it.

The Māori word for halfback – kairau – sounds like the name for the Egyptian capital, Cairo

Forward – pou mua

A scrum is set down, but instead of a forward pack there are eight cows linked together, mooing. Forwards are mooers.

Back – pou muri

A spectator observes the brown skin of the backline and says “Hey, the backs are all Māori!”

Wing – taitapa

A player wearing a number 14 jersey and a necktie waits out on the wing, nervously tapping his tie. He is the tie-tapper.

Centre – topa pū

The player wearing the number 13 jersey finds a dogturd a starts to tape it up to hide it. Someone asks if he’s ready, and he replies “I’ve got to tape a poo.”

First Five-Eighth – topatahi

Wearing a number 10 jersey and waiting for the pass from the halfback is a very tall potato.

Second Five-Eighth – toparua

The player wearing the number 12 jersey has his shorts pulled up as high as they can go. He is wearing a tall pair o’ shorts.

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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 2018/19.

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