Ko wai au? (about me)

Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora te iwi – with your contribution and mine, the people will thrive.


Tēnā koe! My ame is John Birnie, and I’m a semi-retired reo Māori  teacher – most recently at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, in Dunedin.

I’m Pākehā – my parents were born in Aotearoa, but my ancestors came from Germany, Scotland and England.  I’ve worked as a reo Māori teacher at secondary level, and taught adults at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (2019 -2020). I received a PhD in Māori studies in 2018, looking at adult learning of te reo Māori.

I don’t claim to be an expert at te reo Māori – in fact, I have a reo Māori blog under the name of “Āhua mōhio”, which means “I’m reasonably knowledgeable,” or “I know a fair bit.” However, I do have a good working knowledge of te reo Māori; I speak it regularly, and  listen to it and read it a good deal.

I run short courses, do some private tuition – and do ‘Kōrero Poto,’ of course. My fees are modest. I recommend Māori Made Easy, by Scotty Morrison, as a beginner text. It’s crammed with good information, has answers in the back, and is excellent value for money (about $35).

Contact me at johnbirnie@hotmail.com for more information about lessons/tuition.

Mauriora rā!