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No. 57 (December 1966)
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Transcriptions of Authentic Maori Chant
part 10

To avoid any appearance of commercialising the songs, Dr McLean has declined to accept payment for his work in preparing this series.

Earlier articles in this series have included examples of nearly all of the song types still being used. The sung forms, waiata tangi (laments), waiata aroha and waiata whaiaipo (love songs), oriori (lullabies), pao (entertainment or topical songs), and poi have all appeared in the series, as have patere, haka and maimai of the recited types of song. So far there have been no transcriptions of karakia (incantations) and tau marae (recitations before speaking) or karanga (marae calls) but except for these the above represent the most common song types.

Other song types can either be regarded as sub-classes of the common types, are locally occurring forms or are now obsolete.

The hari kai or heriheri kai (food-bearing song), for example, is performed like a pao in some areas and like a haka in others. The mana wera or manawa wera (lit. the seared heart) seems to be a form of patere. The most noteworthy of the locally occurring forms is the pokeka which is a song type peculiar to Te Arawa and Mataatua, while of the songs now obsolete the most important are work or time songs and whakaaraara pa (watch songs).

An example of the latter is transcribed in the present issue, together with a tauparapara from Waikato, and these transcriptions will be the last of the present series. Some time next year, if there is enough demand, the writer hopes to resume the series and it may then be possible to include examples of hari kai, pokeka, manawa wera and other lesser known song types as well as songs from tribal areas that are so far unrepresented.

The songs variously called tau marae, tauparapara (Waikato) and pohua tau (Arawa and Mataatua) are those commonly recited on the marae before making a formal speech. This was very colourfully illustrated to the writer in 1958 by Arapeta Awatere who sang a few bars of ‘D' ye ken John Peel’ and then announced, ‘My subject this evening is hunting!’

A European would think it most strange if a guest speaker were to burst into song before, after or during a speech, but on the marae the reverse is true. In days past it would have been unusual for a speaker not to do this. And today, particularly amongst the older speakers, it is still the custom to precede a speech with a tau marae and to follow it with a waiata (song) of relevance to the subject, in which the speaker will generally take the lead and will be helped by his supporters. Often there

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will be several waiata or pao during the course of a speech. Also, a good speaker takes pride in his ability to make apt use of chant quotation.

We must hope that this will long be the case, because it is in the preservation of this custom that the greatest hope for the survival of Maori chant lies. If the use of the tauparapara and the waiata should ever lapse on the marae or if action song is allowed to take its place, the Maori people will have lost a vital part of their heritage.

Often the tau marae takes the form of a karakia but other recited compositions are also acceptable. Sometimes ngeri are heard and sometimes whakaaraara pa. Usually the tau marae is very short, often a mere fragment of a larger composition and is always recited solo by the speaker. It is only later when he gives his waiata that he is joined by his supporters. Generally the composers of tau marae are not known.

The transcribed tauparapara is one of several recorded from Tumua (Sam) Huia of Ngati Te Wehi tribe of Waikato, at Makomako on 3 March 1963. The metre is a basic 2/4 complicated by additional semiquavers.

Whakaaraara pa, also known as mataara pa (watch songs or summons to arms) may have originated during the period of inter-tribal conflict long before the coming of Europeans to New Zealand. Archaeological evidence has shown that the fortified village or pa was already part of the New Zealand scene by about 1450 A.D. and by the time Crozet visited New Zealand in 1772, ‘palisaded villages, surrounded by ditches and situated on very high cliffs,’ were thought by him to be the rule.

In the areas where most fighting was going on, lookout towers were a part of the defensive system and from time to time during the night, sentries posted upon them would recite watch songs in a loud voice or would beat upon a wooden gong (pahu) or blow a pukaea (war trumpet). Te Rangi Hiroa in The Coming of the Maori (p. 388) says that this was done to show both the enemy and the people within the pa that the watchman was alert, while Elsdon Best in his book The Pa Maori (p. 86) says that a further object was to keep the people in the pa from sleeping too soundly in case there was an attack! These could not have been the only objects, however, because some watchsongs have survived that warn of an enemy's approach or ask an approaching force to what tribe it belongs. Some at least of these songs must therefore have been alarm or challenging songs.

As with some other song types there is evidence that mistakes in reciting a watch song were thought to be a bad omen. In the book earlier cited (p. 85) Best quotes a Hauhau watch song that was recited in the Waerenga-a-hika pa during the attack on the place by government troops in 1865. It is said that a watchman was heard to miss some of the words when chanting it, and this omen of ill luck was followed by the fall of the pa.

‘Kia hiwa ra’ is one of the best known of surviving watch songs. The version transcribed in this article was recorded at Painoaiho Pa on 4 June 1958 from Turanga Mauparaoa of Ngati Manawa tribe. Its unusually regular metre should make it easier than most songs to learn.


Piki mai kake mai
Homai te waiora ki au
E tu tehua ana koa
Te moe a te kuia nei i te po
Na Wairaka i rarua ai
E papaki tu ana te tai ki Te Reinga
Ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea.


Kia hiwa ra!
Kia hiwa ra!
E tenei tuku
E tera tuku
Kai a-purua koe ki te toto
Whakapuru tonu!
Whakapuru tonu!
Kaore ko au ko au
E kimi ana
E hahau ana
Nga piringa
Nga kokonga
I nga rae ra piringa
Ha koakoa (a)
Ka ao, ka ao,
Ka awatea.

Mervyn McLean has written his last two articles from overseas. He will be returning to New Zealand towards the end of 1967 when it is hoped that his transcriptions will again appear in Te Ao Hou (Ed.).

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HE TAUPARAPARA as sung by Sam Huia on 3 March, 1963

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HE WHAKAARAARA PA as sung by Turanga Mauparaoa on 4 June, 1958

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National Publicity Studios

British Lions at Mangere

Pictured above with Mr Lui Paewai and Mr Arnold Reedy are three members of the British Lions rugby team. Jim Telfer, Bill McBride and Noel Murphy. They visited Mangere marae when the New Zealand Maori Council was in session and were welcomed by Mr Paewai and Mr Reedy, Noel Murphy replying on behalf of the visitors.

Next day, the Lions beat the New Zealand Maoris 16 points to 14.