Wāhine, whakairo, whakaora reo.

Here are two beautifully illustrated volumes of art – one reveals an all-embracing Polynesian concept of atua with the underpinning spiritual world, the other describes the whakapapa of Ngāti Porou carvings.
On a different note – there’s a huge landscaping of the history of New Zealand women.

Language endangerment in the 21st century : globalisation, technology and new media : proceedings of the Conference FEL XVI, 12-15 September 2012, AUT University, Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand / editors Tania Kaʻai … [et al.]
Presenters include: Tania Kaʻai, Muiris Ó Laoire & Nicholas Ostler — Tīmoti Kāretu — Hinematau McNeill — Rachael Kaʻai-Mahuta — Hana O’Regan — Ruth Lysaght — Michael Walsh — John Moorfield — Peter Keegan, Catherine Watson, Jeanette King, Margaret Maclagan & Ray Harlow — Katerina Naitoro — Tania Kaʻai & Dean Mahuta — Elisa Duder — Paora Mato, Te Taka Keegan, Daniel Cunliffe, Tara Dalley — Lidu Gong — Paora Mato — Kevin Scannell.

He W’akaputanga Mai o te Rangatiratanga : a proclamation.
“This publication represents a culmination of material made available, or created for the Hokianga Maori artists group exhibition ; He Wakaputanga Mai o te Rangatiranga – A proclamation. The exhibition was organised and first presented by black space gallery in Kohukohu, February 1-28, 2014… [Includes] “educational information alongside works and thoughts of Hokianga Maori artists: Maureen Lander ; Toi Te Rito Maihi, Heiwari Johnson, claire Kaahu White, Michelle Morunga, Bev Wilson, Urikore Ngakuru, Heather Randerson, Henare Rawiri, Emere Te Paea Robson, John Morunga, Stacey Noel, Maki Herbert.”

Syndetics book coverA history of New Zealand women / Barbara Brookes.
“This major new history of New Zealand ¿ written from the perspective of the women who have lived here ¿ will be released on Monday 15 February, launching at a conference held in honour of the author (leading New Zealand historian Barbara Brookes) at Otago University.” (Syndetics summary)
Incomplete contents: Origins, traditions and ‘civilisation’ before, 1814 — A civilising mission, 1814-1856 — Settling pākehā families unsettling whānau, 1850s-1860s — War, gold and dispossession, 1860s-1880s — The quest for citizenship, 1885-1890s — New expectations for a new century, 1900-1919 — Motherhood, mortality and a voice for women in the interwar years, 1919-1940 — The ‘modern woman’ of the interwar years, 1919-1940 — On the home front, 1939-1951 — Suburbia, 1950s-1960s — Decade of discovery, 1967-1977 — Into the corridors of power, 1977-1986 — Reckoning with women, 1984-1990s — Shaping the new millennium, 2000-2015.

Syndetics book coverAtua : sacred gods from Polynesia / Michael Gunn.The Polynesian concept of atua — of gods, figurative objects and associated beliefs — developed over thousands of years and spread throughout the region… Across central and eastern Polynesia, from the Cook, Austral, Society and Marquesas islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, Tahiti, Rapa Nui, the Hawaiian Islands and Aotearoa New Zealand, unique, yet coherent, societies developed. With that a complex and sustaining spiritual world came into being… Among the atua were the deified spirits of human ancestors, particularly those famous for their invincibility, political strength or navigation skill. Polynesians created, revered and communicated with their atua in a relationship of profound intimacy. This way of life suffered a violent rupture with the arrival of Christianity in the 18th century…. ” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA whakapapa of tradition : 100 years of Ngāti Porou carving, 1830-1930 / Ngarino Ellis ; with new photography by Natalie Robertson.
“From the emergence of the chapel and the wharenui in the nineteenth century to the rejuvenation of carving by Apirana Ngata in the 1920s, Maori carving went through a rapid evolution from 1830 to 1930. Focusing on thirty meeting houses, Ngarino Ellis tells the story of Ngati Porou carving and a profound transformation in Maori art. Beginning around 1830, three previously dominant art traditions – waka taua (war canoes), pataka (decorated storehouses) and whare rangatira (chief’s houses) – declined and were replaced by whare karakia (churches), whare whakairo (decorated meeting houses) and wharekai (dining halls)… Iwirakau is credited for reinvigorating the art of carving in the Waiapu region. The six major carvers of his school went on to create more than thirty important meeting houses and other structures. During this transformational period, carvers and patrons re-negotiated key concepts such as tikanga (tradition), tapu (sacredness) and mana (power, authority) – embedding them within the new architectural forms whilst preserving rituals surrounding the creation and use of buildings… This book is both a major study of Ngati Porou carving and an attempt to make sense of Maori art history. ” (Syndetics summary)

Te matau a Māui : fishhooks, fishing and fisheries in New Zealand / Chris Paulin with Mark Fenwick.
“”Te Matau a Maui discusses the form and function of the traditional Maori fishhook, customary fishing, and development of commercial fishing in New Zealand since European settlement (including the adoption of the rotating hook design as a re-discovery of the innovative and highly effective Maori hook design by present day commercial long-line fisheries), and changes in Maori lifestyle associated with the increasing availability of European agricultural cultivars and domestic animals in the nineteenth century, and urbanisation in the twentieth century that led to a decline in Maori fishing activity and the loss of indigenous knowledge”–Publisher information.” (Syndetics summary)

Paraire Tomoana, NZ Music Month Feature

Welcome to May and to NZ Music Month! We have some exciting things lined up for you on the He kōrero o te wa blog, so make sure you keep an eye out! I would like to kick off NZ music month here with a small feature about a beloved and well-known Māori composer, Paraire Henare Tomoana. This blog post is not only about one of New Zealand’s best-known and loved Māori composers; it is also about someone close to my whanaunga, and it is my greatest pleasure to share with you here a summarised biography, taken from teara.govt.nz:

Paraire Henare Tomoana was born in either 1874 or 1875 in Hastings. Paraire belonged to Ngati Te Whatu-i-apiti and Ngati Kahungunu; through his father he had links to the hapu Ngati Hawea, Ngati Hori, Ngati Te Rehunga and others, and through his mother, to Ngai Te Ao, Ngati Hinepare, and Ngati Hinetewai. His mother and father were both prominent Māori leaders in Hawkes Bay and, inheriting illustrious lineage from both parents, Paraire was destined for leadership.

te aute

Te Aute College, Waipawa County. Alexander : Photographs of Te Aute College. Ref: 1/1-013163-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23029536

He attended Te Aute College, where he became a prefect and captain of the school. At school, he was a contemporary of Sir Apirana Ngata, with whom he remained firm friends and whom he also supported politically.


Apirana Turupa Ngata. New Zealand Ilustrated Magazine [1899]. Ref: PUBL-0091-1899-001. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23013034

Paraire was also a formidable athlete, representing Hawkes Bay in rugby, tennis, cricket and hockey, and Turanga in golf. For over ten years, he remained the undefeated champion of the New Zealand Māori golf tournament. In 1904 he was appointed coach of the All Blacks. Paraire married twice. His first marriage had ended by 1912 and in 1913 he married Kuini Ripeka Raerena, aged 19 and one of eight children of Taare Raerena (Ryland), a farmer of Ngati Porou, and Harata Akuhata-Brown (Paraone). These were my great-great-great-grandparents. Kuini was the sister of my great-great-grandmother, Celia Raerena. Paraire had courted Kuini by singing his own composition, the love song ‘Pokarekare ana’, to her and her Ngati Porou elders on Te Poho-o-Rawiri marae. There were four sons and four daughters of this marriage, and Paraire also had an adopted son.


Te Poho-o-Rawiri. Gordon, Peter John Te Otene, fl 1970. First meeting of the Takitimu Maori Council, in front of the second Poho o Rawiri Meeting House. Ref: 1/2-044563-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23041348

Paraire was a pioneer composer of songs in the new ‘action song’ style, moving away from classical waiata which used small note ranges, no harmony and irregular metre. Instead, he wrote words to fit harmonised tunes written in diatonic scales and generally deriving from European songs, the rhythms adapted to fit Māori idiom. One of his best-known songs was ‘Te ope tuatahi’; others are still among the most popular Māori songs in New Zealand. During WWI, Paraire helped raise funds for the Maori Soldiers’ Fund by organising a song and dance group (Te Poi o Heretaunga) which performed at Waimatatini, Wellington, Trentham and Auckland. They performed many of his compositions, including Hoea Ra Te Waka Nei, and E Pari Ra (1918 – the famous tangi for soldiers lost in battle). Other well known songs written by Paraire were ‘Tahi nei taru kino’, ‘I runga i nga puke’, ‘Hoki hoki tonu mai’ and the haka ‘Tika tonu’. As well as composing action songs, Paraire was an accomplished writer and translator, a commentator on ancient waiata, and was well versed in Maori history and lore. In 1946 he suffered a stroke and died on 15 April. He was survived by Kuini, who died in 1984, four daughters, three sons and his adopted son. He is buried in the Waipatu cemetery at Hastings.

(This biography is summarised and paraphrased from www.teara.govt.nz. The full text is available here and is well worth a read; I recommend you take a look!!)

Te Ara Biography:

Angela Ballara. ‘Tomoana, Paraire Henare – Tomoana, Paraire Henare’, from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 30-Oct-2012

We have some resources about Paraire Tomoana here at the Central Library:

A century of Maori song : a collection of words and music for 56 traditional and contemporary Maori songs of 20th century. Volume one. He koha : a gift of Māori music / [compiled by] Blossom Taewa and Stuart Pearce.

We also have a range of CDs ($1 for one week), featuring songs written by Paraire and performed by more recent artists:

Waiata Maori : a festival of Maori song / sung and narrated by Inia Te Wiata. Reo : he waiata Maori hou o Aotearoa = contemporary Maori songs of New Zealand. The voice [sound recording] / Teddy Tahu Rhodes. Whisper you all the way home [sound recording] / 2003/224 New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir. The young Kiri [sound recording] : the early recordings, 1964-70.