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No. 25 (December 1958)
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MAORI ACTION SONGS

No mention is made of the airs of the two action songs which appear in the previous issue of Te Ao Hou. When the late Sir Apirana Ngata produced the Souvenir programme of the Ngarimu Victoria Cross Investiture Meeting, he included his favourite and now world famous song “He putiputti koe i katohia” and appended the following note to the English rendition: “The air of the song will be recognised, but need not be announced for fear of invading some copyright.” Recent recordings made by the Putiki Youth Club of Wanganui do not include their theme song “Te Wai o Whanganui” because the publishers of the song “You are my sunshine” held that the tune was similar, and consequently they banned the recording of this song. Where possible however, the airs of the action songs will be mentioned.

I RUNGA O NGA PUKE

The late Paraire Tomoana of Hastings who composed the ever-popular “E pari ra”, was a prolific writer of action songs. “I runga o nga puke”, one of his first compositions, was

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a favourite during World War I. It was the theme song at a concert held in the Wellington Town Hall in September 1915, to farewell the Second Maori Contingent. The English version is by the late Sir Apirana.

I runga o nga puke
Ka pa mai to reo;
Hau maiangi
Hei kawe mai.
He reo aroha
E patai ana mai.
“He aha tau e
Pirangi nei?”
Kia awhi kau atu
Ki to tinana i ngaro
E ngaro nei ra i enei ra;
Ko tou aroha, ko toku aroha,
Ka mutu pea! aue te tau!

Waiho mai e tama
O kupu oati,
I runga o nga puke
I tangi ai taua.
E haere ana koe
Ki runga o te pakanga:
Ko to reo aroha,
Karanga mai—

From the hills resounding
Your voice is calling
I hear its echo,
My heart is sighing.
Borne on the breezes.
List to it asking,
“Why are you calling—
Calling for me?”
Just once again love
In sweet embrace love,
For you I'm longing
For you alone;
Your lips to mine, love,
Our hearts united,
Until the end love—until the end

‘Twas on the mountain
Our love was plighted:
You vowed to hold me
In memory ever.
Now war has called you
Across the ocean.
My heart is breaking
Crying in vain—

WHAKARONGO MAI E NGA IWI

Rangi: “Goodbye Little Darling”

There has been a number of Maori versions for this song. The writer first heard it sung at Gisborne by the Tairawhiti Kiwi Club—a Club which during the second world war assisted greatly in farewelling and welcoming members of the forces and in assisting to raise funds for patriotic purposes. In 1943, this club competed in the Gisborne Annual Competitions in the fifteen minute entertainment section, and had as its introductory number, this action song. The Club won the section competition, having gained no less than 93 points out of a possible 100.

The Maori version is by Canon Wi Te Tau Huata, M.C. and was written by him for his Bible Class.

Whakarongo mai e nga iwi,
Ki te reo o ….
E nga hau e wha,
Haere mai ra e,
E nga iwi, tatau, tatau.
Aue, aue, hei! ha! hei! ha! hei!
Aue, aue; Heretaunga, Hikurangi,
Wairoa, Torere, Turanga e!
Nuhaka. Mohaka, Rotorua, Ruatoki. Akarana,
Kia ora koutou katoa.
Listen, ye tribes all assembled,

‘Tis the voice of ….
Extending to the four winds,
A warm welcome to all,
May all unite and be one.

The places named in this song, were the centres from which the various Bible Classes attending a “Camp” came. I have excluded the name of the Club in the line “Tis the voice of”. The term “tatau, tatau” in the fourth line was coined by the late Sir James Carroll, and in later versions of the song, this has been misquoted to read “tatou katou” which alters the meaning of the song, and in my opinion, ruins it. The balance of the song is not translated as this part is obvious and requires no comment.