Navigation for Te Ahi Kaa

Kia āta kō nga kopara a Rongomaitāpui

Sing softly the birds of Rongomaitāpui, sing softly.

Nā Puti Mackey nō Ngāti Pōrou

puti pano one
Puti Mackey at the 2014 Sir Apirana Ngata Memorial Lectures, Te Papa, and at her home.

Puti Mackey was first introduced to waiata as a child when she attended church in her hometown of Pōtaka on the East Coast, she remembers the rhythm and chanting of the Mōteatea (Traditional waiata). Puti has been a  Kapahaka exponent for the past four decades. In 2008 she was awarded a Queens Service Medal (QSM) for services to māori performing arts. Puti recalls the artistic flair of Pare Herewini and  Nuki Williams who taught waiata-a-ringa (action songs).  Ngāti Pōrou composers Henare Waitoa, Tuini Ngawai and Ngoi Pēwhairangi come to mind when she talks about the waiata that are still sung today, Puti puts it down to the simplistic use of te reo māori and the familiar tunes. Justine Murray visits Puti at her Wellington home to talk about traditional waiata māori and today’s contemporary Kapahaka scene.

When you have a look at composers like Ngata, Tomoana, Tuini Ngawai, Ngoi Pēwhairangi, Henare Waitoa, all their songs are being sung, we have to ask the question why? I think it’s the meaning of the songs that really hold. Ngata composed He Kainga Tipu – Home Sweet Home in Māori, in 1909. I always thought it came from Te Arawa because Howard Morrison and his mum used to sing it a lot. But after I did a few investigations,  I discovered that Ngata composed it in 1909 while he and Hone Heke used to sit at the back, they were backbenchers at the time and they used to compose all these songs, and in He Kainga Tipu he must of written it because he was home sick for his people.

-Nā Puti Mackey

Social media is an ever growing platform to communicate and access information. However, are more māori choosing to operate from a virtual space rather than a physical one? In 2013, Acushla Dee O’Carroll completed her PhD Thesis Kānohi ki te Kānohi – a thing of the past? An examination of Māori use of Social Networking Sites and the implications for Māori Culture and Society. Justine Murray talks with Acushla about her research and her key findings and Justine asks several māori how they choose to maintain their links to their hapū,iwi, marae and whanau.

There’s a lot involved with being Kānohi ki te Kānohi, it’s about being physically present but even more than that, it’s about accountability, it’s about credibility, it’s about Mana. Being that seen face or kānohi kitea,  when one returns back to their marae for a funeral, the whanau pani or the mourning family will always remember and recognise those faces that came to give their farewells.  Now how is that recognised and acknowledged when people are doing it through facebook?  I’m sure it is,  but these are the sort of differences, I guess the nuances of kānohi ki te kānohi and social media.

- Nā Acushla Dee o Carroll

Moana Maniapoto pano two
Moana Maniapoto.   Photo credit: Dru Faulkner.

Singer Moana Maniapoto suffered a recent bout of writers block and described it as being ‘kind of freaky’; she admits that she is not a prolific writer but that it’s a skill that she is getting better at.  It has been six years since Moana released an album of fresh material with the release of Wha in 2008. The long break was down to touring, travel and family life. Last month Moana and the Tribe released their new album Rima, Moana talks about a few of the songs from the album with Justine.

 I know that some people they sit down at ten in the morning and start writing a song, but I find that really difficult,  I’ve got no discipline whatsoever, I have to wait to be whacked with something and then it usually comes quite quickly and I have to sing it into my iphone, or else to my six year old because she’s got a memory that’s incredible. I knew that after a while if I kept singing it in the car while I was dropping her off to school, and she remembered it, then I was on to something.

- Nā Moana Maniapoto.

Waiata featured: ‘Whole World’s Watching’, ‘Hands Up’,’Aotearoa’, ‘Seashell’ and ‘House of Strife’ performed by Moana and the Tribe from the album Rima (2014). ‘Paikea’ peformed by the New Zealand Expo Māori Entertainers from the album Waka Māori (1988).