Look carefully at the following examples and you will see how i a ... and i te ... are used to say ‘while’. Notice how this structure uses e … ana, followed by ka ...
Here is the sentence pattern to help you:
I a/te/ngā + kaimahi + e + tūmahi + ana, + ka
|I a mātou e haere ana, ka kite mātou i te hukarere.
|While we are travelling, we will see the snow.
|I a ia e waiata ana, ka katakata ngā tamariki.
|While he was singing, the children laughed.
|I a Hine mā e wehe ana, ka tangi mātou.
|While Hine and the others were departing we cried.
|I te tumuaki e kōrero ana, ka moe a Pita.
|While the principal was talking, Peter slept.
|I ngā ākonga e mahi ana, ka inu kawhe rātou.
|While the students were working, they drank coffee.
Notice the similarity of this use of i te ... to its use for the past continuous tense that you have already encountered.
|I te pakipaki ngā tamariki, ka mutu ngā whakataetae kaukau.
|While the children were applauding, the swimming races finished.
|I te kura a Maru, ka whānau mai āna punua kurī.
|While Maru was at school, his puppies were born.
|I te whare karakia rātou, ka tangi te pere.
|They were at church when the bell rang.
For further explanations and examples see Te Kākano pp. 101-102.
Whakamāoritia ngā rerenga kōrero e whai ake nei.
Whakapākehātia ēnei rerenga kōrero.