Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha, pictured here, composed the ngeri (chant with actions) which you can hear performed by members of Ngāti Toa. The words are set out below. This chant, which is not often performed, forms the start of the famous haka composed by Te Rauparaha –‘Ka mate, ka mate’. Well known by all New Zealanders, both Māori and Pākehā, it is traditionally performed by the All Blacks rugby team before each game. Te Rauparaha composed it on an occasion when he narrowly escaped death at the hands of his enemies, and it is interpreted as a celebration of the triumph of life over death.
Kikiki kakaka kauana!
Kei waniwania taku tara
Kei tarawahia, kei te rua i te kerokero!
He pounga rahui te uira ka rarapa;
Ketekete kau ana to peru kairiri
Mau au e koro e – Hi! Ha!
Ka wehi au ka matakana,
Ko wai te tangata kia rere ure?
Tirohanga ngā rua rerarera
Ngā rua kuri kakanui i raro! Aha ha!
Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero (Pokeka and moteatea by a Ngati Toa group/Reference number MPT 568)
Using this item
Hocken Library, University of Otago
Pencil sketch by Edward Immyns Abbot
Permission of the Hocken Library Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, must be obtained before any re-use of this image. Further information may be obtained from the Library through its website.