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I ahatia? - What was done?

Achievement objective

6.1 Give and follow instructions.

Learning intentions

Students can:

  • understand and use the passive voice
  • issue and follow instructions, using the passive.


At the end of this lesson, students can:
MātakitakiMātakitaki - Viewing: Use appropriate terminology to describe ways that visual and verbal language interact for specific effects, and purposes.

KōreroKōrero - Speaking: Use appropriate pronunciation, stress, rhythm and intonation.

WhakarongoWhakarongo - Listening: Understand specific details in contexts that may contain some unfamiliar language.

Lesson sequence

Ensure the students understand what the passive voice is before starting this activity. (The passive voice focuses on the action and not the thing/person doing the action).

Move around the class performing different actions. Ask the students to describe what you are doing, using the passive voice.

Teacher action Student description
Pick up a chair Kei te hikitia/hāpaingia te tūru.
Replace the chair E whakahokia ana te tūru.
Open a window Kei te huakina te matapihi.
Close the window E katia ana te matapihi.
Fetch a pen Kei te tīkina te pene.

Write the descriptions on the board, emphasising the passive form.

The tense markers ‘Kei te … ’ and ‘E … ana’ are used in these descriptions.

Have the students work in pairs. One student carries out the action while the other uses a passive sentence to describe it. The students should use the ‘Kei te … ’ and ‘E … ana’ structures.

Move around the students and ask them questions about what is happening; for example:
Kei te ahatia te tūru? E ahatia ana te matapihi? Kei te ahatia te pene?

The students should respond accordingly; for example:
Kei te hikitia te tūru. E huakina ana te matapihi. Kei te tīkina te pene.

Introduce students to the agentive marker ‘e’ through the questions ‘e wai?’
Kei te hikitia te tūru e wai?
E katia ana te matapihi e wai?
Kei te tīkina te pene e wai?

In groups, have the students carry out tasks using passives, and continue asking questions using ‘e wai?’ To conclude, the students could write 5–10 full passive sentences to describe the different actions they saw being carried out and by whom.

Language to use

Note that the passive voice focus is on the action not the person doing the action.
There are several passive endings:

  • -a, -ia, -hia, -kia, -mia, -ngia, -ria, -tia, -whia, -na, -ina, -hina, -kina, -rina, -whina, -nga
  • some are used according to the end letter of the verb, for example, ‘-nga’ seems to be only used with verbs ending in ‘ai’; ‘-na’ with words ending in ‘u’ or ‘a’; ‘-a’ is the simplest form and seems to be the most used
  • in some cases, there is a tribal preference for particular passives.

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