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Grammar of the New Zealand Language


The interrogative pronouns are wai, aha, tehea, and its plural ehea, kohea, and sometimes, (particularly in Waikato,) pehea.

Wai is applied (1) to persons, and (2) to animals or things, as canoes, ships, &c., to which the name of a man has been given, and is always the pronoun used in asking the question, What is his name? It is some times applied to countries, &c.; but, in such cases kohea is the pronoun most frequently used.

The following are examples of the uses of wai and kohea:

  • Ko wai tena? Who is that?

  • Na wai tenei? Whose is this?

  • Ko wai tena kuri? Who is that dog? i. e., what is his name?

  • Ko wai tena poti? ko Wikitoria, what boat is that? ans. Victoria.

  • Ko wai tona ingoa? What is his name?

  • Ko wai tena whenua? What country is that?

  • Kohea tenei? What place is this?

Note.—Wai will sometimes take the plural form by having ma postflxed; e. g., Ko wai ma ena? Who are they?

Aha is applied to everything in which kind is denoted; so also is pehea sometimes: