Kaupapa Game Board Project



The Māori language (also known as te reo) is the first language of Aotearoa, spoken by the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Māori people. Though it is taught in many schools, the number of people that speak and learn Māori has diminished greatly over time.

From 1920-1960 there was a sharp decline in Māori speakers. Negative views were increasingly incorporated into education systems and home environments, causing the English language to become dominant while Māori became an endangered language.

A fast and effective way to increase the number of Māori speakers is through teaching students in schools. According to a statistics report from the Ministry of Education, as of the 1st of July 2020 there were 294 schools with students enrolled in Māori medium. The Māori medium includes students who are taught the curriculum in Māori language for at least 51% of the time.

As there are very few leisure activities and opportunities to create te reo Māori language immersion environments outside the classroom, the Kaupapa Board Game supports the number of individuals’ increasing interests in learning te reo Māori.

The Goal

ForYouth is working along with Kurahia, the creators of the Kaupapa Board Game, to provide a fun and sustainable way to encourage Māori language learning. Our aim is for Aotearoa to experience te reo Māori as central to how we have fun together as whānau and friends.

We are currently:

  • continuing to gift Kaupapa Board Games to the community

  • developing and sharing a multilingual version of Kaupapa, which will include images and other languages that are spoken all across Aotearoa.

About and FAQ's

What does Kaupapa mean?

Kaupapa means “Theme” in Māori.

The Creators and the Process

Kaupapa is the first board game created by Kura Rēhia, a collective passionate about celebrating te reo Māori through play. Kura Rēhia create board games, resources and events for a bilingual Aotearoa. Designed and produced in New Zealand, the Kaupapa Board is made with sustainable materials through an eco-friendly printing process. Kaupapa is the first of its kind in board games for speakers and learners of te reo Māori. It was released in May 2021 and has been hugely popular with people wanting to learn and speak te reo Māori in homes, schools.

Who can play Kaupapa? Do you have to be fluent?

Everyone can play! KAUPAPA is the board game for a bilingual Aotearoa.

KAUPAPA for beginners: KAUPAPA can be played by anyone starting to learn te reo. If you are at the kākano (beginners) stage of learning, you can use actions, sound effects and English words to describe the word on the card. English definitions are provided on Kupu (word) cards. Beginners can use it to learn new words, and fluent speakers can create a fast-paced, playful Māori language immersion environment.


With 900 words spanning rākau to rangatira, KAUPAPA is your chance to have hysterical fun, use your reo and expand your Māori vocabulary at once! It is a word description game that can be played at any level – beginners can use it to learn new words, and fluent speakers can create a fast-paced, playful Māori language immersion environment.

KAUPAPA is a fun way to facilitate learning in the classroom, suitable for absolute beginners right through to fluent speakers of te reo Māori. The game does not require the teacher to be proficient in te reo Māori, however we encourage teachers to model accurate pronunciation of Māori words.


"The game is so visually beautiful - our children are intrigued at the pictures and symbols and meanings from the box opening onwards! One of the the things that make this game is that it's so adaptable for very different levels of reo - we have children with almost zero reo through to children who are in fully bilingual kura and they can play together and not feel discouraged."

"Definitely something fresh. It is a package of joy, every where your eyes fall brings joy because it is beautifully and respectfully presented."

"An incredible resource to support our learners with their reo. I used this game with a group of gifted learners from ages 8-11 years, with reo between zero and fully fluent, together in one group!"

"It works for the extroverts, but introverts can enjoy the noisey game too. Win. Win."

"A totally fresh take. And so beautiful."

"As the group were playing, other students came over to watch and they started acting as helpers (viewing the cards and acting out meanings), so it ended up being collaborative and cooperative rather than competitive. The game just kept attracting more and more as we had fun exploring new and known words and relating them to other known words. Part of this group was one student who is fluent in te reo and we used the 'hard' version of the rules with her, which she appreciated. She ended up being a massive support for the non-fluent among the group, in a warmly supportive way."