Implementing Kaizen 5S / 6S methodologies, using English and Te Reo Māori translations, is a great way to reduce waste and create efficiency at New Zealand businesses: “Big improvements can come from small changes which accumulate over time” .

We’ve translated the 5S/6S methodology terms into Te Reo Māori and this workplace poster can be used to promote continuous improvement: Whakawhanake.

Kaizen - Whakawhanake 5S Methodology New Zealand
Te Reo Māori translation of Kaizen 5S/6S continuous improvement methodology for use in New Zealand / Aotearoa

The te reo translations of the steps used in this workplace organisation method more closely align to the original Japanese actions of seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke rather than their English words. The addition of ‘safety’ as a component step is also included within the translation making this six actions.

You can download the material below in PDF format and it is released under a creative commons licence.

Pronunciation Guide for Kaizen Te Reo Translations

Māori Pronounciation English Action / Description
Whakawhanake CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT Review processes continuously to ensure efficiency and best practice.
Whakawehewehe SORT Keep only what is necessary and discard everything else – when in doubt, move it out.
Whakarārangi SET IN ORDER Arrange and label only necessary items for easy use and return by anyone.
Whakawhiti SHINE Keep everything swept and clean for inspection – for safety and maintenance.
Whakapūmau STANDARDISE Make up the rules, document the rules, follow the rules, promote the rules.
Whakapiki SUSTAIN Make a part of daily work and it becomes a habit. Continue and promote improvement.
SAFETY Promote an environment of zero harm with ongoing Toolbox Talks and ensure all staff have the opportunity to discuss potential hazards and propose preventative action.
Whakarima 5S A word construct to indicate “5 Whakas”. The process which excludes the Whakaruruhau/safety component.
Whakaono 6S A word construct to indicate “6 Whakas” including the Whakaruruhau/safety component.

For further details regarding the terms used and the reasons for their selection, rather than other words, is available here.

Download Whakawhanake Poster

Purchase for Commercial Purposes

If you wish to purchase the original files and work for commercial purposes or to remove the credits, please contact us.


Audio Files: Māori Dictionary / © Copyright 2003-2018 – John C Moorfield, Te Aka Online Māori Dictionary

Author: David Nolan

Images: Smashicons, Freepik & Eucalyp at

Creative Commons License
Whakawhanake by David Nolan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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