Te Reo - Counting

Dr R. Taonui - The following is an introductory guide to counting in Māori.

One to ten

One      Kotahi or Tahi              Six         Ono

Two      Rua                                Seven   Whitu

Three   Toru                                Eight     Waru

Four      Whā                                Nine      Iwa

Five       Rima                               Ten       Tekau

The most basic sentence for asking how many is:

E hia nga mea?

(How many things are there? Note you can substitute 'mea' for a name of another object or item if you know the word.)

The reply is:

Kotahi ngā mea (One thing)

or for numbers over one:

E rua ngā mea (Two things)

Eleven to nineteen

For numbers between from eleven to nineteen add the appropriate numeral to 'tekau mā ...' (ten and ...) as follows:

Eleven Tekau mā tahi

Twelve Tekau mā rua

Up to...

Nineteen Tekau mā iwa

Twenty to Ninety Nine

Twenty Rua Tekau (20 - two tens)

Thirty  Toru Tekau (30 - three tens)

...and so on...

Ninety Iwa tekau (90 - nine tens)

Tens and singles

To add singles use the following pattern using 'mā'  to link tens and singles: 

Forty-four Whā tekau mā whā (44 - four tens and four)

Sixty-two Ono tekau mā rua (62 - six tens and two)


One hundred Kotahi rau

Two hundred Rua rau

... and so on...

Hundreds, Tens and Singles

Counting above one hundred requires using the patterns for hundreds, tens and singles as follows:

One hundred and thirty two Kotahi rau, toru tekau mā rua

Nine hundred and ninety-nine Iwa rau, iwa tekau mā iwa

Kia pai tō mahi e tatau matimati! (Good luck counting your fingers!)

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