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Let’s Learn Māori: A Guide to the Study of the Māori Language. Bruce Biggs (1969)

No one could have predicted the formidable achievements of Professor Bruce Biggs (Ngāti Maniapoto) when in 1951 he was plucked from a school teaching post in Ruatoria to be appointed New Zealand’s first lecturer in Māori language in the department of anthropology at what was then the University College of Auckland.

Publication details

Biggs, B. Let’s Learn Māori: A Guide to the Study of the Māori Language. Auckland: Reed, 1969.

About the book

Professor Bruce Biggs FRSNZ was a pioneering figure in academia in the mid twentieth century. As the first lecturer in Māori language, Biggs developed the first university programme in the study of Māori language and literature; he taught and trained an entire generation of Māori students who later went on to head Māori studies programmes at other New Zealand universities making significant contributions to Māori scholarship; such as Pat Hohepa, Ranginui Walker, Wharehuia Milroy, Pita Sharples, Dame Anne Salmond, Sir Bob Mahuta, Merimeri Penfold, Margret Mutu and many others.  The quality of his extensive publications on Māori and Polynesian linguistics brought international renown to his field of research. He was for 10 years president of the Polynesian Society, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and was awarded a CBE and OBE for services to education and the Māori people.

The revised edition of this landmark book, Let’s learn Māori comprises a textbook and self-help guide to the study of the Māori language. It is also a complete grammar reference, covering parts of speech, the structure of each type of phrase and the combinations of phrases that form simple sentences. Each aspect of the grammar is discussed in a numbered section or subsection of the book and a combined vocabulary and index provides a reference system.

Further information 

This publication is part of the series Te Takarangi: Celebrating Māori publications - a sample list of 150 non-fiction books produced by a partnership between Royal Society Te Apārangi and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.