‘Maori Music From My Films’
Compiled by Robert Steele
Prestige PEP 2089 7in 45 EP
Robert Steele of Auckland is a well known producer of documentary, industrial and travel films. Over the last twenty years he has made some one hundred and fifty films, many of them dealing with his own country as well as the surrounding Pacific Islands. In many such films the background music has featured Maori songs and hakas, and from these Robert Steele has made a selection for this record.
The famous Ngati Poneke Young Maori Club of Wellington feature first with one of their best known numbers, ‘Haere Mai Poneke’. This group is the most durable concert party in New Zealand. It has been in existence and performing publicly without a break since 1936 and its ‘old boys’ and ‘old girls’ are spread throughout the length and breadth of the country. Those who have seen Ngati Poneke on stage will attest to the consistently high standard of their work (they won the Dominion Maori Choir championship in 1963). Strangely enough they have seldom featured on record so this brief offering is most welcome. ‘Haere Mai Poneke’ is performed out of doors but the verve and precision of the performance is still obvious. It is a great disappointment that the full song is not included—there is an abrupt termination half way through. Ngati Poneke also feature the famous Poi Waka. Again this is performed with strength and colour. Another group called Ngati Kauri (unfortunately there is no indication of their origin and composition) perform two spirited haka taparahi without the incoherence which mars many recorded haka. There is also a pleasantly sung ‘Hoea Ra te Waka nei’ from their group.
Also in the disc is an attractive canoe song from a Cook Island group featured in the film ‘Children of Aitutaki’. Actually this gave me a nasty shock. Owing to a mislabelling of the record, this track is billed as Ngati Poneke's ‘Poi Waka’. For a horrible moment I thought Ngati Poneke had gone mad!
‘Maori Music From My Films’ is attractively packaged in a folder-type cover with full explanation of the items (unfortunately with several mis-spelt Maori names) and three photographs. As a ‘souvenir of New Zealand’ type of record it has much to commend it.
‘Temple View Maori Concert Party’
Zodiac ZLP 1015 12in 33⅓ LP
This concert party was formed some years ago when the Mormon temple was built at Hamilton. The present disc is produced under the direction of the temple's Maori Culture Director, Anaru Kohu, with Joan Pearse as Choral Director. For some unexplained reason some of the tracks in this album were recorded in Waitomo caves. A romantic thought perhaps, but the record neither gains nor loses from the fact.
This group unfortunately cannot help being compared with the Te Arohanui Party (mentioned above) because of its Mormon origins and the fact that a number of members are common to both groups. Of course such a comparison is unfair because the Temple View group lacks the intensive training which the other party received before going on its tour of the United States.
The choral work is the best feature of this record and its version of ‘Pokarekare’ will stand out as easily one of the best recordings of this much used and abused song. This is a most attractive setting with some lovely harmonies. ‘Whitiki Taua’ starts most promisingly with a sensitively sung solo and then degenerates into a strict tempo pop tune with guitar accompaniment when the choir comes in. I also find fault with the group's pronunciation in the final line of this song. There is one haka taparahi—a remarkably dispirited rendition of ‘Ka Mate’ which has my vote as one of the most spineless haka renditions on record. ‘Tohu Aroha’ stands out as the best of the solo and trio items.
The record has a very attractive cover photograph, reasonably adequate notes on the reverse, and of course the usual crop of mis-spelt titles without which no self-respecting recording company today thinks of issuing a Maori record.
the pukekohe maori school has been transferred from the Education Department's Maori School Service to Auckland Education Board control. The chairman of the school committee, Mr W. Proctor, says that following this change the school will become inter-racial.