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A simple way to add a macron to “pāua”

Macrons are used in written Māori as a guide to pronunciation, marking a long vowel sound.

The simplest way to add a Māori pōtae or tohutō (macron) to the word pāua is to change the custom dictionary in your spellchecker so that it:

a) does not include ‘paua’ and

b) Includes and automatically updates the former to “pāua”.

The following instructions are for Microsoft Word

Step 1: Change your custom dictionary so that it includes pāua:

a) Copy and paste pāua from another document (e.g., a PIC newsletter) into

your document. Alternatively, if you don’t have an appropriate document to

copy from, you can insert an “ā” onto pāua by clicking on the “insert” tab at

the top of the screen, then click on “symbol” – scroll through the symbols to

find the ā;

b) Once pāua is in your document, right click on the word, then click “add to


Step 2: Make sure your custom dictionary does not include ‘paua’:

a) If there is a red wavy line beneath ‘paua’ (indicating that the spellchecker

does not recognise the word), then you have never added it to your

dictionary and there’s no need to do anything further;

b) If there is no red line you will need to access your spellchecker and delete

the word ‘paua’ from it. To do this, right click on a misspelled word, then click

“spelling” on the pop-up menu. Next click “options” and then “custom

dictionaries”, then “edit word list”. You can then delete the word ‘paua’,

making sure to leave “pāua” in the dictionary.

Step 3: Making the change occur automatically:

a) Now, when you type ‘paua’ in the normal way, it will have a wavy red line

beneath it – right click on the word, and then click “autocorrect” followed by

“pāua”. This should ensure that whenever you type ‘paua’, it will

automatically change to pāua. If it doesn’t change automatically, you can use

the spellchecker (right click on the word) to change it each time and after a

while you word processing programme will start making the change as you


For Apple/Mac users

Step 1: Enable the Māori keyboard on your Mac

a) Go to System Preferences > Language & Region

b) Select “+”. A pop-up box will display. Search for Māori in the list and click

Add. A message will displace to confirm if you wish to make this your primary

language. Select English as your primary language and Māori keyboard as a

default, secondary option. Close and exist from System Preferences.

Step 2: Toggle between language keyboards

a) Now that the Māori has been added to your list of languages, you can

toggle between English and Māori by clicking in the top right-hand corner of

the home screen. Select the ‘Māori’ option. If you need to switch back to

English as your primary language, simply select “English”.

Step 3: Manually add macrons ­

To manually add macrons on vowels, press the tilde key “~” on your keyboard at the same time you type a vowel letter.

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