6 Dec 2012

Waiata warn of seismic and volcanic activity

6:13 am on 6 December 2012

An iwi living under the shadow of Mount Ruapehu says the recent seismic activity comes as no surprise to them because their ancestors composed songs and chants that speak about the on-going tectonic plate movements.

An earthquake was recorded on Ruapehu, and Mount Tongariro erupted last month sending out plumes of ash and steam hundreds of metres into the air.

Pou arahi (executive manager) of Ngati Rangi Trust in Ohakune, Che Wilson, says in his tribal narrative his tupuna already knew about how the mountain's activities are related to forces deep within the earth.

He says there are a number of pao, waiata and ngeri that talk about volcanic and seismic activity.

Mr Wilson says in one waiata it describes how eruptions and earthquakes on Ruapehu will never cease, and how the mountain will continue to send out ash and smoke.

He says the waiata explains how this is all related to tectonic plates clashing with each other.

Mr Wilson says his iwi has been living under the mountain for more than 700 years and still feels safe with no need to evacuate.