Fotoeins Fotografie

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

New Zealand: 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 in early-winter on the South Island. Truth is: I’ve got a real big soft spot for “Aotearoa“. The longer I’m in country, the more the land reveals deeper insights about her culture and language.

New Zealand recognizes three official languages: English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Of immediate connection to this land are two Māori songs, “Pokarekare Ana” and “E Ihowa Atua”, which are the unofficial and official national anthems, respectively.

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

Performed by Wanda; at Whangapoua Beach on North Island’s Coromandel Peninsula.
Performed 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

Sung by Hayley Westenra, in Auckland at 2011 Rugby World Cup Final.
Performed in the nation’s 3 official languages, by Deaf Aotearoa NZ – Tangata Turi


•   Māori Language Week (Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori), held annually since 1975, taking place in 2022 during the week of 12 to 18 September.
•   History of te Reo Māori (Te Mana O Te Reo Māori).

The featured image at top is from the NASA Terra satellite taken during the final quarter of 2002. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com at

8 Responses to “New Zealand: 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!


  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

    • 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!


    • 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!


  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. […]



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