Oral stories encourage creativity and imagination, concentration and listening skills. When whānau share memories, relationships are strengthened and values and beliefs are imparted. Involving tamariki in storytelling develops deeper understanding.

Why do it?

Sharing oral stories with tamariki is a great way to:

  • Encourage creativity and imagination
  • Include your tamaiti in the creation of the story
  • Show them that stories can be made up anytime or anywhere
  • Reduce the reliance of devices for entertainment
  • Improve their listening skills and extend their vocabulary
  • Use the mother tongue of your whānau
  • Share whānau memories
  • Stay connected with whānau who don’t live nearby by including them in it
  • Preserve culture by sharing whakapapa and whānau values and
  • Talk through topics that could be worrying tamariki
  • Identify what your tamaiti might need and personalize your story in response. For example:
    • Is it a calming story to help them settle to sleep?
    • Is it to uplift them if they’ve experienced something sad or upsetting recently?
    • Or is it one to just cuddle up and have a laugh together?

The beauty is you get to control all aspects of the story when you tell your own!

How to do it

You could…

  • Create the story together by asking your tamaiti what they’d like this story to be about?
  • Discuss who the characters might be and develop them by talking about their looks, how they behave, what they like to do or things that might make them feel scared
  • Share a familiar story they know from a book
  • Create your own whānau version of a familiar story
  • Make all the characters people from within your whānau
  • Make the story up based on a happy memory from your childhood
  • Share a story you liked when you were a child
  • Personalize the story by making it about something your tamaiti enjoys doing or is trying to master
  • Retell something that happened during the day into a story for the evening
  • Think about the things that make your tamaiti frightened and then have the main character face and overcome the same fears.
  • If need be have some prepared starters, for example:
    • ‘the day you came into our whānau…’         
    • ‘when we slept at our marae…’
    • ‘the day the river flooded…’

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Me haere tāua ki te tiro atu Let's you and me go and look at...
Ki te ngāhere To the bush
Ki tātahi To the beach
Ki te awa To the river
Me whakamaua ō kamuputu Put your gumboots on
E kite ana ahau i... I see
Kei te rongo ahau i I hear a
Kei te rongo ahau i te kakara o... I smell
E haere ana mātou ki te tātahi ki te kohi kai moana We’re going to the beach to get seafood
Nāku i kite ētahi angaanga I found some shells
Ko wai te ingoa o tō keretao? What's your puppet's name?
Kei hea tana kai? Where is her food?
He aha tana kai? What does he eat?
E haere ana ia ki hea? Where is she going?
Āta whakarongo Listen carefully
Kia mataara To be alert, vigilant
Kia tūpato Be careful
Look for, search
Hunt, investigate
Kite(a) Find, discover
Enjoyable, fun
He tino pai tō mahi Well done
Enjoyable, fun
Cooking food
Ehuehungia te māra Water the garden
Horoia te motukā Wash the car
Rārangi kai Groceries
Huakina te pouaka Open the box
He aha kei roto i te pēke? What is inside the bag?
Whiua ki te ipupara Throw it in the rubbish bin
Horoia ō ringaringa Wash your hands
He rawe tō āwhina mai You're a great helper