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Macrons – tohutō

A macron is a line above a vowel to indicate a long vowel sound: ā, ē, ī, ō, ū, Ā, Ē, Ī, Ō and Ū.

Macrons are important in te reo Māori as they indicate a lengthened vowel sound, and not using macrons may potentially also change the meaning of the word. They are also crucial for accurately spelling some New Zealand place names.

There are a variety of options for how you can enter Māori macrons.

Māori keyboard and language for Windows

The following steps explain how to set up macrons

  1. Go to the Windows icon in the bottom left-hand corner start menu
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Go to Time and Language
  4. Go to Region and language, you’ll probably have English already selected as a language. If not, add English (New Zealand)
  5. Then go to Options. Under Keyboard, you will most likely have the UK or US. Go to Add a keyboard. Scroll all the way to Māori and click on it. Then remove the UK or US keyboard. Close the window once you have it set up.


Go into your Word Document that you’re typing in.

Press the tilde key that is on the left-hand side of the number 1 key before you type your vowel.

When you type the vowel a macron will appear above it.

Māori keyboard and language for Mac

Follow the steps to install macrons on a Mac:

1. Click on the Apple logo in the top left and choose System Preferences
2. Click Language & Region

3. Click Keyboard Preferences
4. Click the + icon and find Māori in the list
5. Click Add


Maori keyboard


To type a macron on a Mac:

– Hold down Alt / Option and at the same time type the vowel. 
– Alternatively, you can also do this in conjunction with the Shift key to type an uppercase vowel with a macron.

Type on an iPhone or iPad using Macrons

To enable a Macron when you’re typing on an iPhone or iPad:


1. Hold down the key for the character that requires a macron when you are typing
– A small gallery appears, showing different accent examples for that character.



2. Choose the example with the macron.
-That character is inserted into your text, with a macron.

3. Carry on typing.
– Repeat this process preceding each character that requires a macron.

Type accent marks, diacritics and other characters online

Insert symbol in Word on Windows
  1. Click the Insert tab in Word. It’s located on the top left side of the blue ribbon.
  2. Click Symbol. Located on the right side of the Insert toolbar.
  3. Make sure that it is set to the default settings:
        • Font: normal text
        • Subset: Latin Extended-A.
    Special characters

    Use an online keyboard

    Go to Typeit to directly type accent marks, diacritics and other characters online. This site allows you to type macrons without a Māori font.