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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




It will be observed that the voiced consonants b, d, g, are wanting, also the voiced and voiceless pairs v, f and z, s, l. The only consonants are the voiceless p, t, k, the voiced and voiceless pair w, wh, the three nasals m, n, ng, the liquid r, and the aspirate h. The combinations of 10 consonants and five vowels form 55 open syllables, four of which, however, wo, wu, who, and whu, do not occur in any genuine Maori word.

Table of Maori Syllables
a e i o u
ha he hi ho hu
ka ke ki ko ku
ma me mi mo mu
na ne ni no nu
nga nge ngi ngo ngu
pa pe pi po pu
ra re ri ro ru
ta te ti to tu
wa we wi wo wu
wha whe whi who whu

The above table contains every letter and syllable used in Maori, but those syllables in italic are not found in genuine Maori words, although they are used in modern Maori introduced words, such as wuru (wool) and whuru (flu).