Māori Macron Characters

The Māori Language

Te reo Māori (the Māori language) is one of three officially recognised language in New Zealand—the others being English and New Zealand sign language. The Māori alphabet consists of fifteen letters:

Five vowels (e rima ngā oropuare)
a, e, i, o, and u. These can be short or long. Long vowels should be written with a macron (tohutō) above them (a horizontal line).
Eight consonants (e waru ngā orokati)
h, k, m, n, p, r, t, and w.
Two digraphs (e rua ngā pūrua)
wh and ng

(Based on a table from Teach Yourself Māori by KT Harawira).

Marking long vowels with macrons is also used in Hawaiian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Livonian, and Marshallese; and in the romanization of Amharic (ethiopic), Arabic (perso-arabic), Assamese (assamese), Bengali (bengali), Chinese (sino-japanese), Gujarati, Hindi (devanagari), Japanese (sino-japanese), Kannada, Kazakh (cyrillic), Malayalam, Oriya, Pashto (perso-arabic), Persian (perso-arabic), Punjabi, Tamil (tamil), Telugu, and Urdu (perso-arabic).

Although a number of documents are printed in Māori without macrons, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, The Māori Language Commission, recommends always using them as it makes pronounciation easier for learners.

Māori is ISO 639 language code mi.

Macrons and Computers

I teach my computer about me rather than have the computer dictate its rules to me. In this case I’ve spent some time teaching it about macrons:


Here’s a proverb (whakataukī) spoken by the first Māori King, Potatau Te Wherowhero:

Kotahi te kōhao o te ngira e kuhuna ai te miro mā, te miro pango, te miro whero. I muri, kia mau ki te aroha, ki te ture, ki te whakapono.

This is an eloquent plea for harmony and understanding: Through the one eye of the needle pass the white threads, the black threads, and the red threads. Afterwards, hold firmly to your love, to the law, and to the Faith.

From Modern Māori by P. M. Ryan.