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Idealog—in the ideas business

Win! Maori alphabet blocks!

win maori alphabet blocksThese stunning Maori alphabet blocks feature in our brand new issue, out this week, and whaddya know – we have a set to give away to one loyal reader. Call it an early Christmas gift.

The printed wooden blocks feature the Te Reo alphabet, alongside traditional carving patterns and figures from six iwi around the country, and are the result of a partnership between Maori graphic designer Johnson Witehira and US company Uncle Goose.

“I wanted to use my design skills to bring Maori art and design back into Maori homes because you know, so many of us have little or no connection to our marae. When I was growing up, there was nothing visual in our house that said we were Maori,” designer Witehira says.

“I thought, wouldn’t it be awesome if this wasn’t just alphabet blocks, but if I could add figures as a way of making children familiar with Maori carving at a young age. I wanted them not only to be alphabet tools, but tools for children to become familiar with Maori culture.”

Get yourself in the draw for a pack of 24 embossed blocks (suitable for ages 2 and up, according to the box) – leave a comment below and tell us why you absolutely desire, no, need it. Closes December 18, open to NZ residents only. They retail for $90 and can be purchased here.

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I desire…no need it because I have two daughters aged almost 5 (in Jan) and 18 months. These would be a perfect addition to their learning especially as I would live for them to be multi-lingual. My daughters share the great prospect of living in two distinct worlds - that of Te Ao Maori (from my side) and of Te Ao Pakeha (from their mothers). Not to mention, they are an awesome piece of art work to display at home.


What an awesome looking block set. I would love to win it to try and incorporate what my daughters learn at preschool at home and get them to spell out words we learn in both English and Maori

In my whare I am the only te reo speaker, and I am a 2nd language learner. I korero to my moko when they are here and we spend quality time gardening, and cooking, playing, goofing off and generally just spending time together whereby I share some of my world view with them. However I feel that with these blocks I can spend quality time with them teaching them to read as well as hear their reo in a play setting that will enrich them and ground them better in te reo.

I would like to know how it is to purchase a set for my kura kaupapa & how long will it take for delivery.!?
I would love to win a set even if i give to a child for a gift who has done well at our kura this year.

@Jeanne You can buy them here:… for $90.

Kia ora, we do our best to promote biculture in Playcentre, we “Puriri W'akamaru o Taranaki and Taranaki Playcentre Association work together and are a charitable organisation and we work hard to get as much resources as possible to support our 17 centres. This will add to our Kete of tools to support te reo in oue Taranaki Playcentre.
Nga mihi nui kia koutou.

Naa Char Martin

My daughters first language is Maori and we need resources!

Ataahua hoki! These would be a truly wonderful addition to the koretake resources I make to teach friends te reo. My terrible habit of not typing in tohuto would be remedied! They are both a great resource and a beautiful addition to have around the whare. Tamariki and pakeke would love them (:

I have to be honest; I don't want them for my kids - because I don't have any; But studying early childhood and working in ECE with children between 3 months to 5 years - we are constantly on the look out for resources we can use with the kids. As a student it's part of our studies; that we implement a large amount of Te Reo within the centre. So these blocks would be perfect! They would cover the whole age range, and they would have multiple purposes within the centre. They would be a great prize to win - take to the centre as a present to everyone :)

It always amazes me how quickly young children learn, to be able to provide them with a resource that is educational, creative and beautiful is a perfect gift. I have three little boys (5yrs, 3yrs and 4 months) who are at various stages of learning who 'need' these to enhance their learning.

What gorgeous blocks! We would love to have these for our Playcentre in Rangiora where we work hard to teach our children what it is to be a Kiwi. We are spending 2013 looking at where we come from and how we can be part of the community and these blocks would be a great addition for the children.

Felicity Hernandez-Rika

I ABSOLUTELY NEED THESE BLOCKS, I am a tragic for hip, cool, arty multicultural resources. I am irrevocably pakeha with a die-hard obsession for all things Maori, including my Maori husband and son. To the chagrin of my in-laws I am hopelessly attempting to learn Te Reo alongside my son, and of course these blocks would be a wonderful resource. However truth be told, I secretly harbor a desire for my son to grow up to be some kind of hip, cool, artistic, culturally intelligent wonder-child and these sweet-as little blocks are just the perfect vehicle to transport him there. HOWEVER - I've read the above comments, and there are far worthier winners, so give someone else (who actually needs) the blocks. I will just raid my son's piggy bank, and savings account, and my hubby's sock drawer savings to buy them. ;)

These blocks would be ideal in helping me teach Te Reo Maori to my young Mokopuna wahine in France. I'm sure they will love them and blocks will make learning another language fun.

Of course I need them!

I first saw these on pinterest,I'd love to win a set for my daughters kohanga, I think every kohanga should have a few sets, I'd love to see puzzles etc made along the same lines,

One day my tarnish a went swimming in the moana, Oma rāpeti, oma rāpeti , Oma, oma, oma ,Oma rāpeti, oma rāpeti.

Let me win these so I can give them away to a family who can't afford them, I'd say most of the people commenting here would be able to afford them.

So choose me to win them, then I will gift them!

Shot Johnson, mean bro!

Kia Ora,
I've just gotta have these. They would look great on my lounge bookshelf - and if you want me to push the product I'll be right in there. Trouble is, my kids will have them out everyday enjoying them. Oh even better!

Ka pai.

Kia Ora
Wow these are fabulous which will look good in my 3year old sons room and will definitely help him to learn and speak Te Reo.

Even better I can even pass it on to his daycare and they can all learn Te Reo together as one happy whanau..:)

Kia ora, This new-ish New Zealander from NY is keen to learn Te Reo!

Its the season of Kirimete
And one of my mokos, Marley
Is missing out on these,what a pity
Cos they'e ataahua, and real gnarley!
Miriana's already got some secretly
Thanks to an indulgent aunty
So tino pai for the tama if he could be
A recipient of this taonga and bounty !!

Hi, Kia ora, I've lived in NZ for 22 years now and only come across Maori culture through school education and university papers and events that were going on at the time. Every time an event happens or my Maori tutor is teaching the Maori culture, they/she/he is always, always REALLY keen to get people to learn about it. However, I nearly always find it very hard to learn because it's totally a different culture/beliefs, I find it hard to grasp. (also they teach A LOT in one class! and there's a big book we're encouraged to read, I doubt we can learn or understand the culture in 6 weeks)

If a designer can portray Maori culture / language with a simple easy to learn design, I would love to play and use them with my little baby cousins! :)

My lovely wife, Jasmin, is an ex teacher, who has been learning te reo. Jasmin has been volunteering at our children's primary school, running workshops in te reo maori. It's been a real hit with children and parents. So Jasmin has been asked to run it as an annual program in 2013. I can imagine her sitting with year 1s and 2s talking playing games with these blocks and inspiring a generation of kiwi kids to fall in love with our native tongue. A welcome gift for a deserving mother of 5 and inspiration to many.

I would absolutely LOVE to win these for my children's playcentre, so not just our whanau, but all the tamariki in our playcentre community could enjoy them. They are so beautiful… I am always looking for quality Maori resources to enrich our preschool environment - these would be perfect!

I need it because it looks awesome… oh and the kids will love it too!

cause I strggl 2 gt thru a-z in englsh let alone te reo! help…

Argh, I would love to say that I need these, but the truth is more that my 2-year old and I desire them; there are far worthier winners on this thread and like someone else has said, there will be people out there who would not be reading this blog who need them more than us. So I too would gift them to someone who genuinely needs them more.

Kia ora
So my partner (Maori speaker) and I have 3 kids, 2 are Maori speakers and attending kohanga. Next year they will be crossing over to kura kaupapa. I can't speak Maori but reckon it'd be pretty awesome to have a Maori language game/learning tool me and my girls can play with. I'm sure they could teach me a thing or two with them. I try to support the reo in our whare as much as possible but there aren't many Maori things out there… if I win these I reckon I'll be in the good books with my partner too

As a teacher, I would love to be able to use these blocks to engage my students.

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