Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa Go to Te Ao Hou homepage
No. 66 (March 1969)
– 22 –

Original Maori Composition Competition

The NZBC is sponsoring a competition similar to that initiated by Leo Fowler in 1966. The main purpose is to encourage composers, Maori and Pakeha, to create Action Songs, Poi Dances, songs to sing, and chants in the ancient idiom. A special section has been introduced as a contribution to the Cook Bi-Centenary Celebration year.

There are four classes in the competition — the best original composition, chant or tune with lyrics based on Captain James Cook's landing, or any theme suitable to the occasion; the best original tune for Maori Action Song; the best original tune or chant for Poi Dance; and best Maori lyrics or words for the Action Song, Poi Song or Chant.

To the Maori, the most important part of any Maori item is the words or lyrics, but those who do not understand the language notice the tune. Popular hits have been used for many years, but there has been a significant effort over the last six years to get away from this habit. This is the aim of the competition.

With the present interest in Maori music, culture and entertainment both here and overseas, it is important that the use of current

– 23 –

‘pop’ tunes for Maori items is eliminated. Radio and television programmes of Maori music are among the most sought after by other broadcasting organisations, and the NZBC does not want to meet the demand by supplying material taken from well known European songs.

Entry forms will be available from all radio stations, and the conditions of entry are shown in detail on the form. Local stations will make arrangements for recording the entries, which are limited to two in each class. The judging will be on tape-recorded performance only, and the composer may present his entry either as a soloist, or as one of a group up to eight in number, or may have it performed by a group of no more than eight people. One accompanying musical instrument may be used if needed. Lyrics must be presented in written form (Maori and English) if they are to be considered for judging.

The panel of judges will include Bill Kerekere and Ashley Heenan of the NZBC,

and three others of national repute in the field of Maori music, culture and entertainment. The recorded entries will be submitted to them anonymously.

Overseas journalists wrote damning articles on the ‘pop’ Maori music presented for the Queen in 1953, and the result was that the items for the Royal visit of 1963 were all original. This contest could provide original items for the Maori group selected to perform for the Royal visit in 1970.