Story: Māori composers – ngā kaitito waiata

Āpirana Ngata and 'Karangatia rā'

Ngāti Porou leader Āpirana Ngata performs an action song, possibly at East Cape, in 1938. Ngata popularised the action song (waiata-ā-ringa), and wrote many songs of this sort. He translated popular European songs of the time into te reo Māori, and also set original Māori words to well-known dance tunes. 'Karangatia rā' was originally written to welcome surviving members of the Māori contingent home from the First World War, and also paid tribute to parliamentarian Wī Pere, who died in 1915.

The version of the waiata in the sound file is from a hui in 1947 at the opening of Uepōhatu War Memorial Hall in Ruatōria. The words have changed from Ngata’s original composition and a tribute is now made to the contribution of Ngata and Ngāti Porou to memorialising the war (Nāu rā e Api, Nāu rā e Porou – ’Twas you Api, ’Twas you Porou).

Karangatia rā, karangatia rā
Pōwhiritia rā
Ngā iwi o te motu
Ngā mano tēnei
Haere mai
He hui aroha
Mō ngā hōia
Ngau te aroha me te mamae 

Haere mai e ngā iwi
Haere mai e ngā toa
Nau mai te kawana
Ngā mana tiketike
Honoa mai te aroha
Haere mai
Ngā ōhākī a ngā tūpuna
Ngau nei te aroha me te mamae

Nāu rā e Api
Nāu rā e Porou
Wero ki taku uma
Titi rawa i te manawa
Oho ana te mauri, āue rā
Taonga tuku iho a ngā tūpuna
Ngau nei te aroha me te mamae, hī

Call to them! Call to them!
Welcome the people of the nation!
To the many thousands, welcome!
to this gathering of love
for the soldiers
Love and sorrow bite deep

Welcome to the people
Welcome to the soldiers
Welcome the governor
And important visitors
Unite in love
Welcome
The instructions of our ancestors
Love and sorrow bite deep

’Twas you Api,
’Twas you Porou
who, within my breast, laid the challenge
which pierced my heart
My soul is stricken, Alas
Treasures handed down
From the ancestors
Love and sorrow bite deep

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Whites Aviation Collection
Reference: WA-12594-G
Photograph by Leo Lemuel White

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision – Radio New Zealand collection. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision (Opening of Uepohatu Memorial Hall. 1947-09-12/40863)

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How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Māori composers – ngā kaitito waiata - Later composers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/music/44279/apirana-ngata-and-karangatia-ra (accessed 22 November 2019)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 22 Oct 2014