A ‘HIT’ IN MELBOURNE
A recent half-hour programme of recorded Maori music broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in Melbourne was received with such enthusiasm that at one stage the station's switchboard was jammed with calls from listeners. The station reported that the audience reaction was one of the best they had ever received.
The programme included songs, chants and hakas performed by the Ngati-Poneke Maori Club, of Wellington, and was made from recordings already held by the New Zealand Broadcasting Service. It was produced by the Publicity Division of the New Zealand Tourist Department and supplied to the A.B.C. by arrangement with the Ngati-Poneke Club and the Maori Purposes Fund Board, to help publicise New Zealand and attract tourists.
There were six records in the programme. The first record was of the action song ‘Whakarongo mai e nga iwi,’ followed by a traditional welcome. The second was of the haka ‘Whiti whiti e,’ the hymn ‘Tama ngakau marie’ and the action songs ‘E waka e.’ The third was of the well-known ‘Haere mai ra.’
The love-song ‘E hine e aue mapu kau’ and the expressive ‘Ko te nau pararahi’ comprised the fourth record, while the fifth was of the canoe songs ‘Toia mai nga waka’ and ‘Hoea hoea ra.’ Next came the lament ‘E pa te hau,’ the canoe action song ‘Mauria nga waka,’ the posture dances ‘Aue e te iwi e’ and ‘Pakia kia rite’ and the action song ‘Ko tenei te po.’ Suitable recorded background commentary was then given, and the programme ended with the Ngati Poneke signature song and ‘Po atarau.’
Altogether 50 sets of recordings were made. Of these 25 went to the Ngati-Poneke Club, and the remainder were sent to the New Zealand Government representatives in Sydney, London, North America, Paris and Tokyo. Because of the intense interest shown overseas in the Maori people, it was expected that the recordings would get equally enthusiastic hearings when presented in these countries as they received in Melbourne.
A further indication of overseas interest in Maori songs was a recent request fulfilled by the Publicity Division for a recording by the choir of the Queen Victoria Maori Girls' College at Auckland. The recording had been made for Radio New Zealand and was of the popular ‘Po Atarau.’ The request came from the New Zealand Trade Commissioner in the United States, who had been asked to supply the record for use by the travel lecturer, Mr Burton Holmes.