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Pronouns are words used to refer to other people, as a substitute for their ingoa (name).

Commonly used pronouns are:

  • she/her/hers
  • he/him/his
  • they/them/theirs

In te reo Māori, the pronoun ‘ia’ is often used to refer to people of all genders.

Just like gender identity, pronouns are personal, and people have the right to choose them for themselves. It’s important we don’t assume another person’s pronouns based on the gender we think they are. Want to learn more about why this is important? Watch the following video.

Sharing your own pronouns

When you share your pronouns, you are telling other people how you want to be referred to, other than by your name. Sometimes when you meet people you might not have enough time to fully explain your identity, so pronouns can be a useful way to tell them a bit about who you are.

Sharing your pronouns may not be something you’re used to, and that’s okay. The more you share them with others, the more natural it will feel.

Sharing your pronouns might sound like
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Asking someone for their pronouns

Asking for somebody’s personal pronouns, and making sure to use them correctly, is a way to show respect. 

Before you ask someone else’s pronouns, you can share your own. This helps to make sharing pronouns normal.

After you have shared your pronouns, you can simply ask:

What are your pronouns?

Tangohia te wero – take up the challenge! Whenever you meet someone for the first time, share your pronouns with them. 

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