The object of the following pages is not to give anything like a complete treatise on the Maori language, nor even a complete outline of Maori Grammar; but rather to furnish, in as small a compass as possible, some practical hints on the ordinary modes of using the different parts of speech; and to clear away some of the difficulties which are most likely to occur to one who is making his first acquaintance with the language; and, I should add, to do this to the satisfaction, in some degree at least, of those who are willing to avail themselves of my guidance. How far I have succeeded such persons must decide.
There are doubtless some things—probably not a few—which are not even here alluded to, but which might be advantageously set down, even in a small work like this: but the task of selection has not proved altogether an easy one. I have had to settle a priori what points are, and what are not likely to present difficulty to an English student of the Maori language. In doing this I could not fall back on my own experience in learning the language, for Maori has never been exactly a strange language to me, and I have had but little opportunity of availing myself of the experience of others. I shall be glad therefore to receive any suggestions which may help in any way to render this little book more useful to those for whose use it is intended.
In conclusion, I may be allowed to offer one caution; and that is, that it is not easy to learn to speak a language merely from books. Books, properly used, are of great service; and in the present case Maunsell's Grammar will repay a careful study: but there is no school for learning to speak any given language like frequent intercourse with the people who use that language and no other.