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The principle purpose of Kei a Wai? is the delivery of the reo. However, the use of ‘safety and health’ as the theme for this particular version of the game serves also to teach and reinforce sound safety and health behaviours in young people.


  • exercise
  • safety in the home
  • injury and sickness
  • road safety
  • mental health
  • hygiene
  • nutrition
  • protection outdoors

Kei a Wai? has been designed with careful consideration for all the principles of elementary language learning.

It exposes players to a variety of useful words, linguistic rules and sentence structures, all of which are consolidated by repetition throughout the game.

Kei a Wai? incorporates a range of themes to provide a variety of language experiences. It is aimed at cultivating skills in viewing, listening, speaking and, in an extended application, reading.

The fun value and simplicity of the game are significant features. Enjoyment creates an atmosphere where learners feel encouraged to participate and use Māori. The simplicity of the game allows teachers with very basic levels of proficiency in the language to quickly become very competent in its classroom level delivery.

The target group of Kei a Wai? ranges from students with little or no experience of the Māori language, to those with a passive knowledge, through to those able to communicate effectively in informal situations but who may not have well-developed literacy skills.

Kei a Wai? can be a powerful resource wherever any of the following are learning objectives:

a. Vocabulary extension.
b. Introduction of grammar.
c. Introduction of simple sentence structures.
d. Introduction of stress, intonation and rhythm.
e. Consolidation of word pronunciation.
f. Construction of dialogue.
g. Development of social skills in co-ordinated group activities.
h. Development of visual discrimination or ‘matching’ skills.

For teachers/parents with a more substantial understanding of the Māori language, exercise extensions are unlimited. The following are some examples of how the game can quickly be made more demanding for more able students. The extensions are shown in italics.

Health & Safety

Roimata washes her hands
after going to the toilet.
  Horoi ai a Roimata i ōna ringaringa
inā mutu ana tana haere ki te wharepaku.
Hamuera likes to eat apples for lunch.   He pai ki a Hāmuera te kai āporo i te tina.
Roimata puts on suntan lotion
so she won’t get sunburnt.
  Pani ai a Roimata ki te hinu ārai rā
kia kore ai ia e tīkākā
Roimata takes her medicine so she will get better.   Kainga ai e Roimata tana rongoā kia ora anō ai ia.
Hamuera crosses the road carefully
at the pedestrian crossing.
  Āta whakawhiti ai a Hāmuera
i te huarahi i te rewarangi.
Hamuera likes to help mummy wash the dishes.   He pai ki a Hāmuera te āwhina i a māmā
ki te horoi rīhi.


  1. Kei a Wai? can also have a reading application. To achieve this, the caller simply holds the card up with the text visible on the back so that players can read the question.
  2. Students with established reading skills (or the ability to make up their own description of a card) will be able to play the role of the caller.
  3. Kei a Wai? makes an excellent one-on-one teaching aid for special students or remedial training.
  4. While the game is fun, it is potentially competitive. The importance of winning can be de-emphasised by continuing the game until all players have succeeded, rather than stopping after the first has completed her/his board.
  5. The ability of students to see each other’s boards can be a useful aid to individuals and to the progress of the game. Where a more competitive application of the game is preferred, however, the covering from view of individual boards (or the timely placement of tokens to obscure the player’s choice) is recommended.
  6. The difficulty and/or competitive level of the game can also be raised by an increase in the pace of the caller.