How to pronounce Maori names. Ned Tapa and Chris Cresswell

Everybody appreciates it if you attempt to pronounce their name or the name of their town properly.

Here Ned Tapa helps me get my tongue around some Māori names.



There are only 15 letters in the Māori alphabet. 5 basic vowels and 10 consonants.   Two of the consonants are written as digraphs (two letters representing one sound): ng and wh

Every Māori syllable finishes with a vowel.





There are 5 basic vowels (monophthongs) and many diphthongs (combination of vowels in the same syllable)

Remember “Are there three or two?”

A as in “are”

E as in “there”

I is an e sound as in “three”   (This is allegedly due to a German missionary creating the written version of the Māori language.  Māori did not have a written language before the arrival of Europeans)  This quirk causes a lot of mispronunciation of names and words such as Hipango which is pronounced “He-pa-ngo” not “Hi-pang-o”

O as in “or”

U as in “two”

Double vowels or a macron over a vowel, aa or ā, is a long vowel sound, so stretching out the “are” sound.  As in Māori.

For a vowel combination with different vowels (diphthongs) the two sounds run together. “Tau” in Māori sounds like “toe” in English.


Pretty much like English except for the two digraphs Ng and Wh

Ng is a nasal sound. Ng as in singer not in as finger

So Rongo is Ro ngo not Rong go

Wh is f in most of New Zealand except Whanganui and South Taranaki where wh is a breathy wh.  So whanau (family) is fa nau in most parts of the country and wha nau in Whanganui and South Taranaki.

There are some other dialect differences around the country.

R is rolled, a bit like a cat’s purr, with your tongue on the roof of your mouth.

 Whanganui River






Tariana Turia  (Minister of Disability Service and Associate Minister of Health)





Tau Henare





Rongoa (medicine)













Some simple greetings

Kia ora is a very common greeting that means be well, and can be used for hello or thank you depending on the tone of voice.

Kei te pehea a koe? How are you (to one person)?

Ma te wa    See you later

Nga mihi   Hello / I acknowledge you.


Ma te wa!




Waka (canoe) image from

Warrior with taiaha image from

Music: AEIOU by Moana and the Moa Hunters 1991


Compassionate Healthcare. Dr Robin Youngson

This is an interview with an anaesthetist Dr Robin Youngson.

He has dedicated his career to adding compassion to healthcare after witnessing technically perfect, but inhumane, care of his daughter in a good hospital.


Compassionate Healthcare. Dr Robin Youngson from chris cresswell on Vimeo.

His key practices:

  • Random acts of  kindness
  • At the end of the day write down some positive things that happened during the day.  Once a week read through your list.
  • Give one patient a day all the time they need


Time to Care

Dr Youngson’s book Time to Care is available here 

Hearts in Health Care

Hearts in Healthcare is his website and on-line community dedicated to creating compassionate healthcare.

Here is the study from Harvard he spoke about.


It is from 1964.  The same anaesthetists randomly treated different patients compassionately or “normally”.   Opiate use was reduced by half in the first 5 days and average length of stay was reduced by 2.7 days.

It is sad we haven’t heard about this research, and that people probably won’t take it seriously as it is from “so long ago”, but Dr Youngson has plenty more evidence in his book.


This is the Self Compassion site he spoke about

Self compassion

Prescribing Meditation or Mindfulness for Your Patients

We all have lots of patients everyday who need a bit of help to chill and a bit of distraction from their anxiety, depression or chronic pain.

If we refer them to mental health or the pain clinic chances are these days it is likely they will be taught how to meditate or do mindfulness exercises.  These are legitimate, researched techniques and they work.

You can prescribe them to your patients.  Put a link on their discharge summary or tell them to Google “Meditation for patients EM tutorials” and they will find some great simple exercises from American physician Prof Jon Kabat-Zinn.

For the insomniacs, before you reach for the script, get them to Google: “Sleep Inducing meditation EM tutorials”

Who knows, the patient may stop bouncing back to ED :-)

Download audio here (right-click and save or save as) or Emergency Medicine Tutorials


Music: Only to Be by Six60


Image from