Story: Waiata tawhito - traditional Māori songs



The poupou (carving) in the centre of this photo is of the Te Arawa ancestor Tamatekapua. He is on stilts, reflecting an incident in Hawaiki where he used stilts to steal fruit – one of the actions which led to him leaving for New Zealand on the Te Arawa canoe. Several traditional waiata recall the deeds of Tamatekapua.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PA7-05-36
Photograph by Burton Brothers

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.

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How to cite this page:

Rawinia Higgins and Arini Loader, 'Waiata tawhito - traditional Māori songs - Origins of waiata', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 May 2022)

Story by Rawinia Higgins and Arini Loader, published 22 Oct 2014