Our style

The basics of how we write for the Oranga Tamariki website.


We use:

  • plain, conversational language
  • contractions, such as you’re, it’s, we’ll, can’t, isn’t
  • the active voice, where possible ie the present tense, avoid ing/ed word endings particularly in bulleted lists as these are passive
  • ‘you’ and ‘your’ when talking to you
  • we, when talking about Oranga Tamariki
  • respectful, gender-neutral language


 Writing needs to be: 

  • human
  • helpful 
  • credible 

Make content easy to read and scan

To do this:

  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short – 3 lines for a sentence is too long. Remember, one idea per sentence.
  • Use short/conversational words, such as ‘use’ not ‘utilise’; 'help’ not ‘assist’ or ‘assistance’.
  • Avoid jargon or PR speak eg journey, reach out, learnings, deep dive and so on.
  • Add frequent, descriptive headings – these need to meaningful and not just to break up text.
  • Break text up with bullet points if there are several points of equal weighting or create a list.
  • Put links on separate lines.

Use of te reo Māori

We use:

  • macrons correctly in text and in headings
  • a mix of tamariki and children
  • for singular we use child
  • a mix of rangatahi and young person (rangatahi can be singular and plural)
  • tamariki not ‘our’ tamariki
  • family or whānau, or whānau on its own
  • Māori in upper case.

Published: April 9, 2021