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No. 51 (June 1965)
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Letters

Mervyn McLean and Maori Music

The Editor,

‘Te Ao Hou’.

Mervyn McLean has done our Maori people a monumental good turn in his study of Maori music, and in the articles on this subject which he is publishing in ‘Te Ao Hou’. I am wondering if he is not the person predicted by the late Sir Apirana when he said that some day a person would be able to write our Maori music into European notation. My own surmise is that Mr McLean appears to be that person.

For this reason I ask all lovers of Maori music, that is the music of the tangi, the oriori, the aroha, the kuatau, the patere, and the rhythm of the pokeka, the manawawera, the haka, the peruperu—to support me in a simple request.

We should beg the editor of ‘Te Ao Hou’ to persuade Mr McLean to accept payment for the contributions he is offering; please Mr McLean, do not feel that you cannot accept a fee for your work. You are not commercializing your labour of love. We owe you more than pounds, shillings and pence can ever give.

Kaua tatou e kaiponu i tenei. Manaakitia te tangata e ai ki te korero a nga matua. Ka inoi au kia awhinatia mai tenei take.

Naku noa,

HIRONA WIKIRIWHI

(Wellington)

The Forgotten Men

The Editor,

‘Te Ao Hou’.

In the March issue of ‘Te Ao Hou’ I read with great interest the article ‘Where is the Love of my People?’ written by a former inmate of Waikune Prison.

I am myself an inmate at another prison. I agree with his views. I have seen many of our boys stranded through lack of assistance from our own Maori people, and this is not easy to live through.

Many of the men released from prison have nowhere to go, and own only the clothes they stand up in, with maybe a few shillings that they earned during their sentence. It is understandable that we feel shy of Europeans who offer assistance—but who can we turn to, if our own race rejects us?

We are told to keep our culture and Maori-tanga close to our hearts—but as I see it, we are not being given much help, because of this whakama of our Maori people.

In the few months I have been here, I have noticed how many of our Maori boys have come back a second time. They haven't been able to find suitable accommodation and employment, and the alternative has been coffee bars, beer houses, and roaming the streets. Nobody wants them, so they commit crimes, returning to the dismal walls of prison and to the only friends they know. There is an understanding among these so-called friends, insincere though they may be, which too often we cannot find elsewhere.

A Welfare Officer of the Maori Affairs Department is doing a great job at the prison where I am, and there is also a kind Maori lady who is a regular visitor. But these two good people cannot do everything by themselves.

I beg those readers of ‘Te Ao Hou’ who may have sons and mokopunas in these places, to help them by visiting them in prison, meeting them on release, assisting them to become rehabilitated with their families, and assisting them to find employment and accommodation.

Above all, I beg them to find some way of preventing this heart-breaking sight, the repeated return to prison of so many of our young people.

MOKOPUNA O TAHUPOTIKI

(Christchurch)

The Maori and Hawaiian Peoples

The Editor,

‘Te Ao Hou’.

Me ‘oukou o Aotearoa la, ka welina o ke aloha!

As a student of Polynesia, and a reader of ‘Te Ao Hou’ for the past four years, I have long been impressed not only with the vitality of the Maori people's endeavours to preserve their Maoritanga, but also with the high quality of ‘Te Ao Hou’, which serves so ably as a sounding-board for the Maori community.

The newly-increased awareness of the need for economic, educational and cultural improvement among my fellow Hawaiians could, it seems to me, profit greatly by consideration of the problems faced and the solutions suggested by our cousins, the Maori.

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The similarity of our Polynesian heritage and of the problems confronted today by Maori and Hawaiian alike, can and should result in a greater exchange of ideas between us. The effectiveness of personal contact—such as the appearances in Hawaii of the Te Arohanui Concert Party, and the visits of Mr Brownie Puriri and the Rev. Manu Bennett—cannot be over-estimated.

As the most acculturated, literate and perhaps most influential branches of Polynesia today, Hawaiians and Maoris owe it to themselves—in a shrinking world becoming increasingly ‘Westernized’—to seek a closer and mutually beneficial relationship.

As a step towards increasing an awareness of Maori achievements and trends, I enclose payment for four subscriptions to your magazine, to be sent to colleagues of mine in Hawaii.

‘O wau iho no me ke aloha.

KALANIANOEO MEINECKE

(United States of America)