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No. 24 (October 1958)
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MAORI ACTION SONGS

Maori action songs were not known to the Maori of fifty years ago, but nevertheless their popularity since their introduction into Maori culture is obvious from the number of songs composed throughout the years by such persons as the late Sir Apirana Ngata, the late Paraire Tomoana, and a host of others. Songs to honour a person, to commemorate an event, to farewell and to welcome people, and indeed songs which cover various phases of life, have been composed by numerous artists. It is the writer's intention to select two songs per issue of Te Ao Hou to avoid their being completely forgotten. Such songs of course, could well be used by Maori Youth Clubs and will augment their library of songs. The English translations are free

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and rhythmical. ‘Te Wai o Whanganui’, a song composed by Mr Ope Whanarere, of Kaiwhaiki, Wanganui, is my first choice. For years, the question of the ownership of the Wanganui River has been a matter of several Court proceedings and is today still undecided. On 6th January 1939, Mr Whanarere was in bed ill. His late father, Mr Rama Whanarere, who was prominent chief of his tribe, was one of the elders who urged the Wanganui tribes to unite in their efforts to claim and retain the ownership of the river. This inspired Ope and while ill he composed this song which has been adopted by the Putiki Maori Club of Wanganui as its theme action song.

Te Wai o Whanganui,
E heke atu ra,
E tere atu nei,
Te moana e!
Te wai tuku kiri
O te iwi kua ngaro,
E pakangatia nei,
E matou e.

I haere mai ra koe,
I runga o Tongariro,
I te maunga huka ra
E rere nei e!
Te wai etc.

E te iwi o Whanganui,
Pupuia tatou,
Kia kotahi te reo,
Kia oti ai e!
Te wai etc.

That rapidly descends,
The river of Wanganui,
And gaily wends its way,
To the ocean deep;
The one time bathing waters,
Of our elders now departed,
For which we'll always fight.
Unto the end.

From Mt. Tongariro,
Did thou originate,
A snow-capped mountain,
From whence ye came:

Ye tribes of Wanganui,
Let us with one accord,
Unite, and with one voice
Proclaim, ‘tis the end!

From the pen of the greatest literary artist in Maoridom, the late Sir Apirana Ngata, comes an old favourite which was sung extensively during both World Wars. This song was first presented in public by the Hukarere girls, and was later sung by the Takitimu and Horouta parties at the reception to the Maori Battalion, at the ‘Hui Aroha’, Gisborne in April 1919. This song was also one of the favourites of the Tairawhiti Kiwi Club of Gisborne during 1939—45. ‘Kia ora ra koutou’ is the title of the song.

E ta ma! he marie,
Na te Ariki
Koutou i tohu,
Kia ora tonu.
Na te aroha o te Kaihanga,
Kia ora ra koutou!

Nau mai, e te iwi
Ki te marae
Pae o te riri
Mai onamata.
Whiua te aroha
Ki nga hoia,
Kia ora ra koutou.

E te iwi, kia toa,
Whaia ko te kaha,
Whiua te aroha
Ki nga hoia.
Kei wiri ra ‘hau,
Kia tangi tatou,
Kia ora ra koutou!

Ye brethren assembled
Through our Lord's mercy,
Ye have been spared
In safety to return;
‘Twas the abounding love.
Of thy Creator:
Greetings to one and all.

Welcome, ye assembled tribes
To this, our ‘marae’,
Whereon we've sheltered,
Warriors of old.
And ever shed afar,
Love to our noble men,
Greetings to one and all.

All tribes, be always brave,
Seek only what is mighty,
And ever shed afar,
Love to our noble men;
Cast aside anxiety,
But in our mourning,
We greet you, one and all.