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New Zealand, true-colour image from NASA Terra satellite, December 2002.

New Zealand’s Māori anthems: Pokarekare Ana, E Ihowa Atua

New Zealand is located in a part of our planet that’s about as far as one can go. The country provides easy inspiration with her striking scenery and friendly people. Memories remain sharp and fresh after multiple visits to Wellington and Auckland, as well as a solid three weeks on the South Island.

I’m in love with her. The longer I’m in country, the more the land reveals deeper insights about her culture and language. New Zealand has three official languages: English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Bringing me back to this land are two songs in Māori, “Pokarekare Ana” and “E Ihowa Atua”, which are, respectively, the unofficial and official national anthems. An appropriate choice of music evokes a grand sense of longing that’s especially true standing among majestic snow-covered peaks on an island nation deep in the Southern Ocean.


Pokarekare Ana

“Pokareare Ana” began as a love song on New Zealand’s North Island in the second decade of the 20th-century. The song is identified widely as being unique to New Zealand.

Pōkarekare ana (They are agitated)
ngā wai o Rotorua/Waiapu (the waters of Rotorua/Waiapu)
Whiti atu koe hine (But when you cross over girl)
marino ana e (they will be calm)

E hine e 
(Oh girl)
hoki mai ra 
(return to me)
Ka mate ahau
 (I could die)
I te aroha e (of love for you)

Tuhituhi taku reta 
(I have written my letter)
tuku atu taku rīngi 
(I have sent my ring)
Kia kite tō iwi (so your people can see)

raru raru ana e (that I am troubled)

E hine e
hoki mai ra
Ka mate ahau
I te aroha e

Whati whati taku pene 
(My pen is shattered)
ka pau aku pepa (I have no more paper)

Ko taku aroha 
(But my love)
mau tonu ana e (is still steadfast)

E hine e
hoki mai ra
Ka mate ahau
I te aroha e

“Pokarekare Ana”, by Wanda; filmed at Whangapoua Beach
“Pokarekare Ana” (a cappella), by Front Row Chorus

E Ihowa Atua (Aotearoa)

“E Ihowa Atua” is a Māori adaption in 1878 of the poem “God Defend New Zealand” which was published two years earlier. Also known as “Aotearoa”, the Māori version of the song is an approximate translation of the English version. Royal assent in 1977 finally confirmed the song’s status as one of the nation’s two official national anthems, including “God Save the Queen.” Presently, the official national anthem is performed with the first verse of “E Ihowa Atua” in Māori, followed by the first verse of “God Defend New Zealand” in English.

E Ihowā Atua (Oh Lord, God)
O ngā iwi mātou rā (Of nations and of us too)
Āta whakarangona (Listen to us)

Me aroha noa (Cherish us)
Kia hua ko te pai (Let goodness flourish)
Kia tau tō atawhai (May your blessings flow)
Manaakitia mai (Defend)
Aotearoa (Land of the long white cloud)

God of nations at thy feet
In the bonds of love we meet
Hear our voices, we entreat
God defend our free land
Guard Pacific’s triple star
From the shafts of strife and war
Make her praises heard afar
God defend New Zealand

“E Ihowa Atua” (Aotearoa) & “God Defend New Zealand”, by Hayley Westenra
Performed in New Zealand’s 3 official languages, by Deaf Aotearoa NZ – Tangata Turi

How do I love New Zealand’s South Island? Let me show the ways

•   Akaroa: Akaroa’s Long Harbour with special guests
•   Akaroa: La petite ville française de Akaroa
•   Christchurch: Christchurch’s changing Red Zone
•   Christchurch: Christchurch’s Art Gallery: glass and light
•   Dunedin: Baldwin Street, steepest in the world
•   Fiordland: Cruising up and down Milford Sound
•   Fox Glacier: The slow forest walk up to Fox Glacier
•   Franz Josef Glacier: The slow approach to Franz Josef Glacier
•   Interislander Ferry: On the ferry between the North and South Islands
•   Lake Matheson: What are the sounds of a New Zealand sunset?
•   Southern Alps: Flying over the South Island’s Southern Alps
•   Southern Alps: The Southern Alps at sunset, from Lake Matheson
•   Train: Coastal Pacific train, from Picton to Christchurch
•   Train: TranzAlpine train, from Christchurch to Greymouth

•   Oh noae, I’m beached, bru. I’m beached az …”

Have you visited New Zealand? Where are your favourite places and memories? Please leave your comments below!

This post marks Māori Language Week (Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori), celebrated annually in New Zealand since 1975. Māori Language Week in 2016 takes place 4 to 10 July inclusive. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com at http://wp.me/p1BIdT-5gd.

7 Responses to “New Zealand’s Māori anthems: Pokarekare Ana, E Ihowa Atua”

    • fotoeins

      Hi and thanks, Sarah-Jane! I could listen to the various renditions all day long, and actually, I have! Do you have a favourite of the two mentioned? I like the linkup because not only is it convenient for my own scheduling, but the linkup also urges me to see what other good stuff people are writing. Thanks again for reading and for your kind comment!

      Like

  1. Adelina | PackMeTo

    Such a fascinating culture the Maori are and vastly unknown. If I didn’t meet so many people while living abroad from NZ I wouldn’t know too much about them either. Thanks for sharing Henry.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • fotoeins

      Hi, Adelina. Even with their common origins, there’s a very rich diversity of cultures in the (south) Pacific. I would like to spend time visiting and learning more about the peoples in the “Polynesian Triangle”. Climate change is already having a big impact on these peoples and their lands/islands. It’s like a big “pull”, seeming to call me, at the very least, back to New Zealand. Thanks for reading and for your comment!

      Like

    • fotoeins

      Hi, Christa. I agree about how cool it is to see a nation’s anthem performed in three official languages. 🙂 Sign language is something I’ve been thinking about learning on and off over the years. For this reason, I’m fascinated to learn what the differences are between the various dialects of sign language. Thanks for reading and for your comment!

      Like

  2. Plugging 19 UNESCO Heritage Sites Around the World | Fotoeins Fotopress

    […] Te Wāhipounamu (Māori for “the place of greenstone”) is located in the southwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island, and includes Westland National Park, Mount Cook National Park, and Fiordland National Park. For me, this place is pure magic, especially under clear skies, with her unbelievably deep blues and greens. Even now, I hear from afar her calls with anthems in both Māori and English. […]

    Like

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