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No. 60 (September 1967)
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Ethnic Folk Series

Vik'ng VP 243 12in LP 33⅓ rpm

This is an interesting and in many ways unique record. According to the cover it was produced in connection with Dr Terry Barrow's book Traditional and Modern Music of the Maori. The obvious intention was to provide music illustrative of that written about in the book, Unfortunately the paucity of cover notes or other explanatory material leaves this aim almost completely unfulfilled. Certainly the record should stand on its own feet without the necessity of the listener having to have recourse to the book to appreciate it. Nevertheless the reader of the book who is interested in the account of, say, the peruperu may well turn to the record to hear just what such a dance sounds like. There is a peruperu on the record but neither on the cover or record label is it identified as such. Thus, to the uninitiated, side two of the record will consist in the main of just a collection of sounds, for he will have no notes to identify them as war dance, action song, etc. Much less will he be able to appreciate their meaning and significance in the scheme of Maori life and musical tradition. This is a great pity.

It is side one which gives the record its uniqueness. It consists of an interview by Dr Barrow with Mrs Paeroa Wineera (incorrectly described on the cover as the late Mrs Wineera) of Ngati Toa, interspersed with musical items both vocal and instrumental by Mrs Wineera. Mrs Wineera is possibly the last exponent of the traditional koauau or Maori nose flute. She was born at Poroutawhao Pa near Levin and learned to play the instrument when she was only twelve years old. During a long lifetime Mrs Wineera has learned a wide selection of ancient music and chants and we hear a few of these on this recording. There is no slickness about the interview. It is conversational, in places a little hesitant, but very very natural. Whilst there is little in the dialogue for the serious student of Maori music. Mrs Wineera charms with her observations and

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pithy humour. Indeed one of the highlights is her bawdy little translation of Me He Manu Rere (to the accompaniment of uneasy laughter in the background from Dr Barrow).

The first track on side one introduces the sound of the koauau and Mrs Wineera plays two different specimens, one of which was discovered by Capt. James Cook. This is followed by Moe Hurihuri a Ngati Toa lament. Mrs Wineera tells the story, sings the chant and then plays it on her koauau. Another interesting track features a love song Te Kotiro played on the putorino. This rare instrument features in many Maori love stories. It is possible for an expert player to breathe words through it so that they come out with the melody and the tales are many of bashful beaus sending messages to girl friends via the music of the putorino. Finally there is a racy little discussion on and demonstration of the difference between Maori music old and new.

Side two features a selection of music, chant and dances from Hannah Tatana (singing solo or in duets and trios with herself—‘gimmicky’ but pleasant to listen to) and from the Ohinemutu Cultural Group under Sambo Mitchell. These items are well performed and there are some interesting items indeed in those presented by Ohinemutu. It is a pity Dr Barrow had not interviewed Mitchell on side two, to enable the listener to get a better understanding of these items.


Illustrated booklet with 7in 45 rpm extended play record Viking VSP 18

This is another excellent booklet cum record from Viking—beautifully illustrated, with a competent text and a short but comprehensive selection of items on record. These musical books do give the casual listener and souvenir hunter a rather better appreciation of the Maori people and their culture than do most records on their own. In places the text seems to draw heavily on Buck but within the restrictions of only twelve small pages it is scholarly and accurate. The author is Jim Siers, well known for his work on Wellington television. Whilst there is an emphasis on the Maori family, as suggested by the title, the text does cover much wider aspects of pre-Pakeha Maori social life and usage. Unfortunately the layout of the text is poor. There is no attempt to break twelve solid pages of text into minichapters with the use of paragraph headings and the like.

The illustrations are of the quality which one would expect from Herbert Sieben. My one criticism of the book is that although the text is couched in past tense, and the small foreword mentions in passing that it features the family ‘in olden times’, the overall impression from photos and text could give the passing reader the impression that the book depicts a way of life which can still be found in New Zealand. Sandwiched in somewhere I would have liked just one small photograph showing a modern Maori family and brief mention in the text that though there have been changes in the pattern of Maori family life in this day and age, the family is still of vital importance in the Maori society of the Twentieth Century.

The accompanying record features Hannah Tatana, the choir of Te Aute College, St Josephs' Maori Girls' College, the Waipatu Concert Party and the Motuiti Maori Youth Club. It gives good value and a varied selection.