Very Many Maori Records
Some readers remark on the fact that often our reviews of records appear many months after the records come on the market. The reasons are simple. ‘Te Ao Hou’ is a quarterly magazine. The space which can be devoted to record reviews is limited. The number of Maori recordings coming on the market at present makes it difficult for your reviewer to keep pace with them.
Ten years ago almost the only Maori records available on the market were a few 78 r.p.m. shellac discs recorded many years ago. Today the catalogue of recorded Maori music is rich
J. Heycoop Photo
The Mauriora Maori Entertainers: from left to right, Taite Kupa from Hastings, Joe (Whiro) Tibble from Te Araroa, Kim Porou from Gisborne, Agnes Paipa from Hastings, Ratu Tibble from Te Araroa, and Dawn Nathan (leader of the group) from Lower Hutt.
One of the foremost firms in the field of Maori (and Pacific Island) recordings is Viking Records Ltd. of Wellington, who export large numbers of their discs to all parts of the world. Already their Polynesian catalogue lists 71 titles with more to come out shortly. This is no mean achievement for a firm which has only been in existence for six years. Now this enterprising company are first in the field with two Maori recordings in stereo. They are reviewed below.
Sing Along in Maori with the
This is a polished performance indeed from a surprisingly small group. Consisting of six enterprising young Maoris—Dawn Nathan of Wellington, Ratu and Joe Tibble of Tikitiki, Taite Kupa and Agnes Paipa of Hastings and, a later addition, Kim Porou of Gisborne—the Mauriora Entertainers have been in existence less than two years. During this time they have not performed publicly, yet they have appeared on two records as well as filming a number of short ‘spots’ in black and white and colour for the National Film Unit. Each of these features a Maori song or dance, and they are due for release soon both in New Zealand and overseas. They will be seen on television and in the cinema.
This is a group with big ideas and the enterprise to back them up. At present the leader, Dawn Nathan, is in the United States working for the Government Tourist Bureau and making arrangements for the remainder of the group to join her there at the end of this year. In the States the Entertainers hope to stage intimate performances of Maori items in night
clubs and the like, as well as appearing on radio and television. If this record is any indication, they should be worthy ambassadors of their race and of New Zealand as a whole.
Unlike many other groups, the Mauriora Entertainers have not debased their Maori items by tinkering or gimmicks. Most of the items are gay and tuneful and in a style easy on the European ear without being the usual collection of Maori words to hackneyed American tunes. There is a typical Maori flavour and harmony about their singing. Even when the group do sing European tunes—two of Sam Freedman's—they have a Maori theme, are in keeping with the rest of the disc, and make very pleasant listening.
Criticisms of the disc are that with such a small group the stereo medium is not fully exploited except in ‘Pakete Whero’. The chants would be better with a guitar, and the men's calling is intrusive in the Poi Waka. Poi sounds would help to give the poi items more life and distinctiveness.
On the cover are the words of the songs (unfortunately without translation) which make for added interest. Those who buy this record will, I am sure, enjoy it.
Sweet Sounds of the South Pacific
This is another record featuring the Maori Girls' Choir of St Joseph's College, Hastings. An earlier recording by this choir was reviewed in issue 41 of ‘Te Ao Hou’. The singing is excellent, and is generally free from the uneven patches which tended to detract from the overall quality of their other recording. The items are well chosen and where Pakeha tunes are featured they are not sufficiently recognisable for this fact to be obtrusive.
The album-like cover is attractively coloured and printed with a seductive photograph inside of a girl who is definitely not Maori. This is a pity. So also is the lack of information on the cover about the items or the choir, for this is always of interest to both overseas and local purchasers.
The quality of the recording is good both in the monoaural and stereo versions.
The Rev. Arthur John Seamer, who for twenty years was general superintendent of the Methodist Maori mission, died in Hamilton recently, aged 85.
Mr Seamer, who retired in 1941, is survived by a son and a daughter.
Dr Peter Tapsell of Rotorua, a specialist in rheumatoid arthritis, recently attended the annual conference in Sydney of the Australian Rheumatism Association, being the only New Zealand surgeon invited to attend.
Two years ago, Dr Tapsell started the country's first rheumatoid arthritis unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Rotorua. This invitation is a recognition of the progress which the unit is making.
A group known as the Maharaia Maori Culture Group has been formed at a meeting at Judea Pa, Tauranga. Named after the late Dr Maharaia Winiata and inspired by his ideas, the group's main objective is the preservation of Maori culture.
Mr Charles Moihi Bennett, the former New Zealand High Commissioner to Malaya and the only Maori to have headed a diplomatic post, recently attended, with Mrs Bennett, celebrations in Kuala Lumpur in connection with the establishment of Malaysia. They were the special guests of the Malayan Government.
After this Mr and Mrs Bennett visited Formosa as the guests of the Chinese National Government.