It didn’t take much to convince the rangatahi of Opotiki ‘s Te Pā Kura to enter the 2019 E Tū Whānau song competition with ‘Pohutukukawa’.
They were over the moon when their song came third in the competition’s Open Section, earning their school $1000 towards new music gear and their own production studio.
“Te Pā Kura love waiata that have been written in Te Reo Māori as they are able to celebrate their first language through a musical platform,” says kaiako Te Rina Ransfield.
“They admire and look up to all kaihaka and aspire to be like groups such as Te Mauri and Maimoa.”
The rangatahi, aged between 9 and 12, practiced hard in class and in their lunchbreaks before recording the winning video.
Te Rina and fellow kaiako Heemi Hill, wrote ‘Pohutukawa’ about Otaramainuku and his waka, Te Waka o Rangi.
“In the Māori New Year, along comes Otaramainuku on his waka to gather the spirits of those who have passed within the year. If you listen carefully enough, the winds speak of when it is time for his waka to arrive. He collects these spirits with his net that is connected to his waka; the name of his net is Te Kupenga o Otaramainuku.
His seat on his waka is often referred to as ‘The Pot’ as it resembles a cooking pot when in bloom in the sky.
This song also speaks of the bitter cold during the Māori New Year (winter) and how it takes hostage of the old people, bidding them goodbye from the physical world and welcoming them onto Te Waka o Rangi through the gathering into his net.
Tikanga – He kōrero e pa ana ki nga Tikanga o Te Ao Māori, te tikanga o te mate me te wairua. Whakapapa – I ahu mai te ao Māori mai te karu o Matariki. Koirā te orokohanga o te tangata Whanaungatanga – Ko te hautapu he wa hei whakakotahi i raro i ngā whetū o Matariki. Ko te hautapu he wa hei whakanuia i nga whānau kia whakakotahi kia tuku maumahara ki te hunga kua ngaro ki te pō.”