First Lessons in Maori
The use of an interrogative adverb, as ianei, koia, oti, ranei, or of one of the words, wai, who, tehea, which, aha, what, pehea, of what sort, hea, what place, or hia, how many, makes a sentence essentially interrogative. Otherwise an interrogative is indicated solely by the tone of the voice, the form of the sentence, whether with or without a verb, being unaltered.
Nou tena potae, that hat is yours.
Nou tena potae? is that hat yours?
Kahore au toki maku, you have no axe for me.
Kahore au toki maku? have you no axe for me.
Na wai tenei mara? whose is this cultivation?
He kai ranei kei roto i te whare? Is there any food in the house?
Obs. i. If a question in Maori is cast in the negative form, the answer, ae or kahore, is by strict Maori idiom to be regarded as assenting to or dissenting from the statement involved in the question, and must, in accordance with English idiom, be translated no and yes respectively.
Kahore āu toki māku? Have you no axe for me? Kahore, yes. (That is the suggestion that there is no axe is incorrect.)
But a modern Maori would probably use the English idiom and reply, Ae, meaning Yes.
Obs. ii. In asking a person's name wai is always used, never aha. Similarly, hea is used in asking the name of a place.
Ko wai te ingoa o te tamaiti? What is the child's name?
Ko hea tera maunga? What is that mountain?