Story: Ngā tamariki – Māori childhoods

East Coast oriori

Listen to this extract from an oriori, or traditional song for a young child, composed by Hinekitawhiti, an East Coast woman of mana, for her mokopuna (granddaughter) Ahuahukiterangi, who lived at Ariuru in Tokomaru. In the song the grandmother bids her granddaughter call on her relatives from Tokomaru to Raukokore in the Bay of Plenty:

Mau e ki atu, ‘Na te Au-o-Mawake.'
Kia tangi mai ai o tuakana koka,
‘I haramai ra koe nga kauanga i Kaituri, na!
I haramai ra koe nga uru karaka i te Ariuru.
Nahau te mau mai i nga taonga o Wharawhara,
Hai tohu ra mohou, kai haengia koe,
Ko te Paekuru ki to taringa, ko Waikanae ki to ringa,
Hai taputapu mohou, e hine, e!'

You will tell her, 'You are of Te Au o Mawake.'
So that your relatives may greet you and cry,
'Ah! you have come from the crossings at Kaituri,
You have come indeed from the karaka groves at Te Ariuru.
You are bedecked with the ornaments of Wharawhara,
To signify that no one may mistake you,
Te Paekura pendent from your ear, Waikanae in your hand,
Precious things for you, little maid!'


(Te Ao Hou 7, vol. 2, no. 3 (Summer 1954): 60)

Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero (Nga Moteatea/Reference number  5739 tr 2)

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Photograph by Jock Phillips

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How to cite this page:

Rawinia Higgins me Paul Meredith, 'Ngā tamariki – Māori childhoods - Traditional Māori childhoods', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/speech/30532/east-coast-oriori (accessed 21 February 2020)

Story by Rawinia Higgins me Paul Meredith, published 5 May 2011