Te Ara Reo Maori [Waiata – E te Hokowhitu a Tu]

This week at Te Ara Reo Maori (in addition to our mahi) we practiced this waiata.  It was sung in 1943 at the Ngati Porou hui for the the posthumous presentation of the posthumous Victoria Cross to Moana nui-a-Kiwi.  NZ Folk Song give a great background here.

It is great to learn these waiata and the mahi-a-ringa (hand actions) that go with it.  I love the idea that this waiata took a very long time to conceive, but was completed in a rush of inspiration.  I have known the tune to this waiata and heard it performed before, but I didn’t know the words or actions.  Here are some wahine performing it on YouTube.  Their actions are a bit different to the actions we have learned.  The words are below.

E te Hokowhitu a Tū
Kia kaha rā
Kāti rā te hingahinga
Ki raro rā
Mā ngā whakaaro
Kei runga rawa
Hei arahi ki te ara
E tika ai
Whirinaki, whirinaki Tātou katoa
Kia kotahi rā

Ngā marae e tū noa nei
Ngā maunga e tū noa nei
Aue rā e tama mā
Te mamae te pouri nui
E patu nei i ahau inā

Ngārimu aue
Anei te iwi e
E tangi nei e

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx pakeha xxxxxxxxxxxx

Oh brave band of Tū
be strong
Do not
let yourselves be
truck down
your thoughts be
always heavenwards
to guide you along the path
that is always right
Depend, depend

each upon each other
and act as one

Lonely stands our marae
Lonely stands our mountains
Ah! To you our sons
the pain and the deep sadness
beating within me so

Oh Ngārimu
your people gather here
to lament your death

4 thoughts on “Te Ara Reo Maori [Waiata – E te Hokowhitu a Tu]

  1. I am a descendand of Tuini Ngawai and these actions are NOT the actions that she put into this song. And some of the words are wrong too.

    • Tena Koe, This was discussed in our class that there were several versions of the kupu and the actions. We were just taught this one in our class. Kiaora 🙂 If you would care to send me your version of the words I would appreciate it. Nga mihi, Louise

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