New Zealand's education system needs to put more focus on languages, says the woman whose video about Maori pronunciation received thousands of views last week.

Aucklander Hana Botha posted a video on Facebook last week saying it "boggled" her mind how people would not even attempt to correctly pronounce Maori place names such as Tauranga, Rotorua, and Taupo.

Since Wednesday, the video has earned more than 170,000 views, nearly 1300 shares, more than 4500 reactions, and has amassed nearly 1000 comments.

"It got a lot more attention than I anticipated," Botha told the Herald.


Reactions had ranged from appreciation and gratefulness to people blaming the education system, she said.

While she agreed there was not enough being done in schools to educate people on proper pronunciation, she said people needed to start taking responsibility.

"The issue that I've touched on does stem from deeper-rooted problems in the education system ... [but] everyone gets to the point where they have to take responsibility for their own consciousness, be accountable for what comes out of their mouth."

Repeat After Me, "Taupō"

I encounter this on the daily and it's not ok! Follow @BTCHNbyhana

Posted by Hana Botha on Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Botha, who is "100 per cent South African" and moved to New Zealand with her family when she was young, said children must learn three languages in South African schools.

"Teaching three languages gives those children respect for at least three different cultures."

A focus on teaching languages in New Zealand could help people respect Te Reo and its pronunciation, she said.

Some of the comments on her video said incorrect pronunciation came down to accent, but Botha said accent did not play a part.

"Accent is extremely different from pronunciation."

Botha was taking Te Reo classes and said one of the best people in her class at pronouncing words was a Chinese girl.

"She pronounces Te Reo beautifully ... you can still hear that she's Chinese, but she's pronouncing the vowels correctly."

Botha acknowledged it might not always be laziness if person pronounced the words wrong, sometimes it came down to awkwardness.

Some people were concerned about being made fun of if they made an effort to pronounce the words properly.

"I know what they mean, I experience it, too, but I think it's very unlikely that you'd experience it from a Maori person. You'd probably only experience it from a Pakeha who thinks you're trying to be something that you're not," she said.

"I've seen how much it means to Maori to pronounce things correctly. The weight of respect that it gives is just so huge and they're so appreciative. It seems like such a small change to make with such a huge positive response."

Botha urged people to take responsibility for it themselves, and said there were numerous resources including apps, online material, and often free university classes to help.