Story: Māori composers – ngā kaitito waiata

King Tāwhiao

King Tāwhiao

The Māori King Tāwhiao is shown here in about 1882, some 22 years after he inherited his title from his father.  Like most, if not all, distinguished Māori leaders, Tāwhiao was known for composing waiata to mark significant occasions or to deliver important pronouncements. In the 1860s he composed this waiata urging land retention.

Ka ngapu te whenua 
Ka haere ngā tāngata ki whea? 
E Ruaimoko 
Purutia! 
Tāwhia! 
Kia ita! 
A-a-a ita! 
Kia mau, kia mau! 

The earthquake shakes the land 
Where shall man find an abiding place? 
Oh Ruaimoko (god of the lower depths) 
Hold fast! 
Bind, tightly firm! 
Be firm, be firm! 
Hold, hold! 
Hold fast the land.

Using this item

Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki
Oil painting by Gottfried Lindauer

Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Māori composers – ngā kaitito waiata - Traditions of composing', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/44271/king-tawhiao (accessed 16 December 2019)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 22 Oct 2014