By now it should be apparent that there are many words in Māori which begin with whaka-. Whaka- is called a prefix because it is joined to the start of another word. There are two related uses of whaka-, the most common and first use of whaka- to be discussed is when it combines with a stative, noun or an ordinary verb (or universal) to create a new word. When whaka- is combined with any one of these, the new word is an ordinary verb, meaning that these words can also be used as nouns. They all can take passive endings and they can be used in all sentence structures including agent emphatic sentences (nā … i … , mā … e …) where statives can't be used.
When whaka- is used with statives or ordinary verbs it signifies a beginning of, or approach to the action or condition indicated
|mahi||work (ordinary verb)|
|whakamahi(-a)||to set to work (ordinary verb)|
|whakamutu(-a)||to cause to cease (ordinary verb)|
When whaka- is used with nouns it signifies the assumption of the character or form indicated by the noun.
|whakaingoa(-tia)||to name, choose (ordinary verb)|
|Pākehā||person of European descent (noun)|
|whakapākehā(-tia)||to translate into English|
Sometimes words that aren't ordinary verbs, statives or nouns can be combined with whaka-.
|whakakāhore(-tia)||to deny, refuse, negate (ordinary verb)|
|atu||direction away (from speaker)|
|whakaatu(-ria)||to show, announce, reveal (ordinary verb)|
The second usage of whaka- is when it is combined with a small group of location words.
When whaka- is used with words such as runga, raro, uta, and muri it means ‘in the direction of’ and ‘towards’. These words will follow verbs.
|Titiro whakarunga!||Look upwards!|
|Huri whakamauī!||Turn left!|
|Kua huri whakamuri ngā hōia Pākehā.||The English soldiers have turned towards the back.|
Sometimes whaka- is also used with nouns, preceded by te, for the same purpose.
|Me oma whakatekaraka koe.||You had better run clockwise.|
|I titiro whakatemoana ngā heramana.||The sailors looked towards the sea.|
For further explanations and examples see Te Kākano pp. 111-112.
Whakatikaia ēnei rerenga kōrero kia ōrite ai ngā tikanga ki ngā rerenga Pākehā.