Commands (imperatives)

Simple active form

Haere mai!
Come here!

E noho!

E tū!

Note that 'E' precedes the verb if it contains 2 short vowels or fewer (note that long vowels contain 2 short vowels, therefore a word like 'tū' stand contains two short vowels and requires 'E' before it). 'E' occurs most frequently before commands, but also Māori proper names when addressing somebody e.g (E Mere) and also terms of address e.g (E kui). It also occurs before numbers 2-9 in certain contexts (see numbers).

The active form of the verb is also used where an object is specified and the appropriate preposition is 'ki', for example:

Whakarongo ki ngā whaea!
Listen to the aunties!

Note the similarity of this command to the active sentence 'Ka whakarongo koe ki ngā whaea.'

Simple passive form

The passive form is used where the person commanded is to act on a thing, and which in an active sentence would take 'i' rather than 'ki', for example:

Patua te pōro!
Hit the ball!

Note the similarity of this command to the passive sentence 'Ka patua te pōro e koe' and that when converted to an active sentence this would contain i: 'Ka patu koe i te pōro.'

This is quite different from English - it is not possible to simply translate these commands into English while maintaining the passive voice. Here are some more examples:

Horoia ngā kākahu!
Wash the clothes!

Whakakoia te māripi!
Sharpen the knife!

Me - Should

Me haere koe ki te kāinga!
You should go home!

Me whakarongo koe ki tōu whaea!
You should listen to your aunty!

Note that the passive form of a verb is never used after Me even though it may be used in a passive sense, e.g.,

Me horoi ngā kākahu [e koe]!
[You] should wash the clothes!


Kia kaha!
Be strong!

Kia tūpato te tapahi!
Cut carefully!

Ka...tāua, Ka...tātou - Let's

Ka haere tāua ki te toa!
Let's go to the shop! (2 people including the speaker)

Ka waiata tātou.
Let's sing! (3 or more people)

Taihoa - Don't yet, wait

Taihoa e oma!
Don't run yet.

Taihoa e tunu i ngā ika!
Don't cook the fish yet.


Kaua e - Do not

Note the similarity of the following two examples to the simple active and simple passive forms at the beginning of this page.

Kaua e whakarongo ki tōu whaea!
Don't listen to your aunty!

Kaua e patua te kurī!
Don't hit the dog!

Kāti - Stop, cease

Kāti te tangi!
Stop crying!