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No. 29 (December 1959)
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WERIHE TE TUIRI

The day after the ceremonial opening of the Tuwharetoa tribal meeting house, Tapeka, last May, the memorial of the late Werihe Te Tuiri was unveiled. The memorial was erected over his grave in the Turumakina sub-tribal cemetery at Waihi at the foot of the bush-clad hill behind the village, and on a gentle slope overlooking the waters of Lake Taupo. The unveiling ceremony was performed by Tumate Mahuta, first cousin of King Koroki, on Sunday the 19th of May, 1959.

Werihe's father, Te Tuiri Takiwa, was of the Parekawa sub-tribe of the Tuwharetoa tribe and his mother, Te Rohu, was a daughter of Te Heuheu Patatai Tukino, the donor of the Tongariro National Park.

I first knew Wehihe when I was a school-boy on a summer holiday at Tokaanu with Hoani Te Heuheu. Werihe and his first cousin, Kahotea, the elder brother of Hoani, were boon companions. Werihe and Kahotea took it in turns to act as secretary to the Honourable Te Heuheu Tureiti Tukino M.L.C.—the father of Kahotea and Werihe's uncle. These two cousins were very kind to me and often told me tales of the lake and its people.

With the passing of the older generation of tribal leaders, Werihe with his cousins, Tupu Paurini and Te Pau Mariu, became the leading elders in their turn. Kahotea and his brother-in-law, Te Hehe Tamaira, had, in the meantime, died.

I spent many a pleasant time with Werihe and his wife, Huriana, at his home above Te Rapa, near Waihi. The home is on an elevated position from which a glorious view of Lake Taupo can be had on a fine day.

The foregoing sketchy account is intended to serve as an introduction to Werihe's song. The song was composed in the early 1930's, and was inspired by the introduction by Sir Apirana Ngata of Land Development into the Lake Taupo district, under the Maori Affairs Department—then called the Native Department.

The beginnings of land development on the pumice lands of Taupo at Tauranga—Taupo were at that time on an experimental basis, on account of the problem of soil deficiency. Treatment with cobalt had not yet been introduced. Elsewhere, among other tribes, land development was being carried out in large-scale Land Development Schemes.

These brief notes on land development will explain the theme of Werihe's song.

When the tribe received advice that a Maori festival of haka, action songs and poi dances were to be a feature of the Waitangi celebrations, the women of Ngati Tuwharetoa decided to adopt Werihe's song for their poi dance.

The Waitangi celebrations were held to mark the handing over by the Governor-General, Lord Bledisloe, of the Waitangi Treaty property as his gift to the Nation. The Maori festival competitions were judged by Te Taite Te Tomo, the member for the Western Maori Electorate, and in the poi the Ngati Tuwharetoa were awarded the first prize.

When awarding the prizes Te Taite Te Tomo explained that in the haka, actions songs, and in the poi, the performers should evince pleasure in the dance. It was necessary, he said, for the pleasure of the performers, and for the enjoyment of the on-lookers to bring into the dance the appropriate gestures; the haughty stare and the seductive side-long glances, together with the exact movements of head, body and hands. At the same time a subtle restraint must be maintained during the performance.

The performance of the women of Ngati Tuwharetoa fulfilled the requirements, said Te Taite, and he complimented them on the theme of their song.

TE WAIATA POI A WERIHE—Werihe's Poi Song

Timata

Tahi mano waru rau
Wha-tekau te tau,
Tuhono Maori ki a Wikitoria
Nau, na Ngapuhi,
I tohu ki Waitangi;
Tuku whakarere iho nei.

 
Introduction

One thousand eight hundred
And forty was the year,
Conjoined was the Maori with Victoria
‘Twas you, O Ngapuhi,
Who decided it at Waitangi;
Leaving it, henceforth, a heritage.

 
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Whiti Tuatahi

He ahu whenua ra,
Hau ana nga rongo!
Nau na, e Apirana,
I hora ki te motu;
Hei hanga i te iwi
Kia tupu totika,
Mo te oranga roa nei.

Whiti Tuarua

Timata i te tope
Nga otaota tupu;
Me tahu ki te ahi,
Kia auahi ake,
Kia watea ana
A Papa-tu-a-nuku;
Hei whakairohanga ra.

Whiti Tuatoru

E mau ki te parau,
Kia huri te whenua.
Karawhiua ko te wepu
Kia kamakama ake,
Kei tai-ruhi ana.
Nga hurihanga maha
Pã mai te wheru nui.

Whiti Tuawha

Whakawhitiria ake
He kiiwhi kei muri.
Poro-titi-titi ana,
Nga ngaru pukepuke!
Peehia te haara,
Miringia kia piri
Kia papa-tai-rite mai.

Whiti Tuarima

Mo te karaihe;
Me rui whanui,
Kia kapi te Whenua.
Kia tupu ake ana,
Whangaia ki te kau
Hei ara waiu mai.

Whiti Tuaona

Whaka-ara taiepa;
Kumea nga waea,
Kia u tepara;
Kei puta ko te toa,
Ka marara te maapu.
Kimikimi noa ana,
Ka raru menetia ra.

Whiti Tuawhitu

Tapahia ko te hei,
Me whaka-haipu
Kia tairanga rawa,
Takahia kia u.
Mo te wa hotoke,
Mo te wa kore kai—
Hei whataki noa mai.

 
 
First Stanza

Now ‘tis of the tilling of the land,
That the story is borne on the winds!
It was you, O Apirana,
who spread it o'er the land;
For the rebuilding of the race
So that it might prosper,
And live on for ever.

Second Stanza

It commences with the clearing
Of the shrubs that grow
Burn it with fire,
Let the smoke billow upwards,
Leaving quite bare
The Earth-that-lies-beneath;
Ready is she for her adorning.

Third Stanza

Take hold of the plough,
Make the sod to turn.
Ply now the whip
To urge (the team) along,
Lest they lag wearily.
Many a turning there will be
Bringing with it great weariness.

Fourth Stanza

Change over now
And let the disc follow on.
See the spilling and tumbling,
Like unto the curling waves!
Weigh down the harrows,
That it may smooth it down
And flatten it out.

Fifth Stanza

Now for the grass (seed);
Sow it far and wide,
Covering all the land.
When it is growing,
Feed it to the cattle
And make the milk to flow.

Sixth Stanza

Put up the fences;
Pull on the wires,
Hammer the staples firmly;
Lest the bull run free,
And the mob stampede.
You'll look for them in vain,
And the manager will get the blame.

Seventh Stanza

Cut down the hay,
And stack it well
Right up there on high,
And stamp on it firmly.
‘Tis for the winter time,—
Oft a time of famine—
With careful feeding it will last.

 
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Whiti Tuawaru

Tukua ko te miraka,
Kia rere takawiri
Ki roto ki nga keena.
Me huri e te mira
Kia whaka-pataria,
Mo te oranga roa
E tumanakohia nei.

Whiti Tuaiwa

Kei muri a Tuwhare’,
E tuohu kau ana.
Ka momotu ki te whana
Te tini o nga iwi—
Tangi kau ko te mapu.
Waiho, me hoe atu,
A nga ra a muri nei!

 
Eighth Stanza

Start now the milking,
Make it run criss cross
Into the open cans.
The factory will do the turning
And make it into butter,
Thus bringing the prosperity
And the hope long deferred.

Ninth Stanza

Lagging in the rear is Tuwhare’,
With head bending low.
Afar off in the distance
Are many of the tribes—
Comes now a deep sigh.
Never mind, let us paddle on,
Day after day, paddle on!