1. (particle) this way - indicates direction towards the speaker, or to the person (or thing) who is central to the utterance. Follows ordinary verbs, statives and location words. Like the other three directional particles, atu, iho and ake, it always follows manner particles (i.e. kau, kē, noa, rawa and tonu) if they are present in the phrase.
Kua hoki mai ngā kuaka. / The godwits have returned.
Ka whakanohoia te mōkai kākā ki te take o te taki, e tūtata tonu mai ana ki te whare o te tangata, ko tētehi pito o te turuturu e uru tonu mai ana ki roto i te whare (JPS 1895:136). / The decoy kākā is deposited at the foot of the taki (kākā snare), quite close to the man's hut, one end of the turuturu (support pole) entering right into the hut.
(Te Kākano Textbook (Ed. 2): 27, 120; Te Pihinga Textbook (Ed. 2): 63-64;)
2. (particle) from, since - indicating an extension in time or space. It marks the point from which the time or place is measured.
Mai i Te Pakanga Tuarua o Te Ao ki nāianei. / Since the Second World War until now.
E mōhio ana te Kōti Whenua Māori nō tōna whānau ngā pānga nui ki ngā whenua mai i Maketū ki Tauranga, ā, mai i Ōkawa ki Te Rotoiti (TTR 1994:143). / The Māori Land Court knew that her extended family owned the lands from Maketū to Tauranga and from Ōtawa to Rotoiti.
(Te Pihinga Textbook (Ed. 2): 64;)
3. (particle) Used with verbs to indicate a perception or attitude towards the speaker.
Ka pātai atu au mehemea ka taea e rātou te tunu mai i aku kai. / I asked if they could cook my food.
4. (particle) Used in narrative to indicate direction towards the main character.
I moe iho a Kupe i te pō ka kite i te atua, i a Io, ka tohutohungia mai ki a ia me whiti mai ia i Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa ki te whenua tērā e whakakitea ki a ia. / Kupe slept that night and saw the atua, Io, who instructed him to cross the Pacific Ocean to the land that had been revealed to him.
5. (particle) including, both - when referring to different kinds of people or things using nouns followed by mai but without a determiner.
Kī tonu te wharepuni i te tāngata, Pākehā mai, Māori mai. / The sleeping house was full of people, both Pākehā and Māori.
(Te Māhuri Textbook (Ed. 2): 97;)
6. (particle) Used in time expressions, seemingly for emphasis. This usage includes future time expressions.
I rongo au i muri mai i haere ia ki Tīpene kura ai. / I heard that after that he went to school at St Stephen's.
Hei te Paraire e heke mai nei tīmata ai te wā whakanui i te koroneihana o Kīngi Tūheitia ki runga i te marae o Tūrangawaewae. / On this coming Friday the celebration of King Tūheitia's coronation begins on Tūrangawaewae marae.
(Te Kākano Textbook (Ed. 2): 121;)