Te Reo is taking hold in the business world.

More and more businesses and other groups are learning the correct pronunciation of place names, using Māori in annual reports, using formal Māori greetings and appointing executives to drive transformation programmes.

The trend has left many Te Reo classes over-subscribed, but apps can be used to help fill the gap - or at least to help you swot between classes.

Language learning app Drops, which was named Google's Best App of 2018, is offering free Te Reo lessons from today.


The app teaches a vocabulary of 2000 Maori words, but there's a catch.

The free version of Drops only lets you learn Te Reo (or one of 31 other languages) for five minutes a day, and includes ads.

To zap the ads and get unlimited time (including offline access), you have to upgrade to the US$9.99 ($15) a month paid version of the app - which is available through both Apple and Google's app stores.

You also have to subscribe to unlock most of the vocabulary modules dedicated to a certain topic, like business and tech.

In a review of five language apps, Bloomberg said Drops was fun: "Whether you're matching pictures to their translations, unscrambling letters to practice spelling, or swiping across a grid of letters to unearth the word that matches the picture, the exercises feel like quick games rather than classroom worksheets."

Its caveat: "Drops places a heavy emphasis on building vocabulary through nouns, which means you won't get much in the way of grammar, usage, and conjugations. You won't be quizzed on speaking or pronunciation, either. "

Although you're not tested on pronunciation, you do get to hear it. Drops features voiceovers by Māori broadcaster Te Aniwa Hurihanganui.

Learning restaurant and cafe vocab in Drops.
Learning restaurant and cafe vocab in Drops.

Another Te Reo option to check out is Spark's Kupu, a free app the telco released for Maori Language Week and which is still on Apple and Google's app stores.

Developed in conjunction with AUT, Kupu uses Google machine learning and your phone's camera - so you can take a photo of common object, then have the app tell you the word for it in Te Reo, along with an audio clip to help your pronunciation.

Spark's Kupu app in action.
Spark's Kupu app in action.
Spark's Kupu app in action.
Spark's Kupu app in action.