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The word ‘ai’

In this section we focus on five different uses for the kupu ‘ai’:

  1. Additional information
  2. Customary action
  3. Subsequent action
  4. ‘in order that’, ‘so that’
  5. In relative clauses

1. Additional information

Additional information simply means an extra piece of information added in a sentence, for example:

I haere ngā tamariki ki te moana kauhoe ai.
The children went to the ocean and swam.

Here the first piece of information is that the children went to the ocean and the added piece of information (additional information) is kauhoe (swim). The kupu ai is placed after the added piece of information as the example shows.

2. Customary action

Ai is used to mark an action which is done habitually or customarily:

Waiata ai ngā manu i ngā ata.
The birds sing in the mornings.
or The birds usually sing in the mornings.

The verb stands alone, such as waiata and the kupu ai is placed after it. Another example is

Kai ai te ngeru i ngā kiore.
The cat eats mice.
or The cat always eats mice.

3. Subsequent action

Subsequent action refers to when a sentence contains one action and then another action occurs due to the first action. For example:

Ka ruku koe i te wai ka puta ake ai anō ki runga.
You dive into the water and then come back up again.

So, if you dive into the water the subsequent action of that is coming to the surface again, therefore the second action of coming up to the surface is due to submerging yourself in the water in the first place.

4. In order that, so that, so

In Māori, the formula kia + verb + ai expresses the purpose for which some action is carried out. For example:

Karangatia tōu matua kia kite ai ia i a tāua e noho ana ki konei.
Call out to your dad so that he will see us sitting here.

Māku ngā taputapu e horoi kia haere tere ai au ki te whare kanikani.
I will wash the dishes so that / so I can hurry up and go clubbing.

A similar formulation is E … ai + subject + me + verb, for example:

E mauri tau ai koe me pūmanawa, whakahā.
In order to relax, you should take a deep breath in and exhale.

5. In Relative Clauses

The particle ‘ai’ occurs frequently in relative clauses for time, place, instrument, and reason, when the tense is past or future:
Koinā te take i whakaaengia ai te kaupapa.
That’s the reason that the policy was approved.

He tino koi te māripi i tapahia ai te mīti poaka.
The knife with which the pork was cut up was very sharp.

Kāore anō kia whakatauria te rā e whakatuwheratia ai te marae.
The day on which the marae will be opened has not yet been decided.