Listen to our Waiata / Welcome Song “Hutia” by Hirini Melbourne

Hutia Leadsheet pic

Hutia te rito
Hutia te rito o te harakeke
Kei hea te kōmako e kō?
Kī mai ki ahau
He aha te mea nui?
He at ate mea nui o te ao?
Māku e kī atu
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata, hī!

Pull out the shoot,
Pull out the shoot of the flax bush
Where will the bellbird sing?
Say to me
What is the greatest thing?
What is the greatest thing in this world?
I will say
The people! The people! The people

‘This traditional waiata, which originates from northern tribes, is often used today. It is the music education subject association’s (MENZA) waiata. It can be sung, like “Haere Mai”, as a waiata kīnaki  or waiata of support, complementing what has been said by the first speaker at a gathering.

The slow reflective speed similar to that of a mōteatea (a lament), is used on this CD maintaining the original lament base for this waiata. Its meaning relates to nurturing the young. The pūharakeke metaphor refers to the wider community of families and social groups.’ Hirini Melbourne talks about the significance of the flax plant in Kiwi Kidsongs 6:

“The flax is a symbol of family unity and the maintenance of close family connections, both between generations and among relations. The family of leaves remain within their cluster, just as people remain within their particular hapu or iwi.

The flax plan grows from the centre. The first shoot divides into the father and the mother, and between them a child shoots up. As this continues to happen, the original parents become grandparents and so on, and you can have many generations in the same plant. The new shoot always grows in the middle.

When you cut a leaf from the flax, always cut it from the outside, because if you take the centre it destroys the whole plant”.

Another song of Hirini’s, Te Rito o te Harakeke can be found in Kiwi Kidsongs 4, (1994), p. 6, and can be accompanied by a percussion instrument made out of flax. The solid end is split to form a “clapper”. Experiment with the playing of flax as an accompaniment to Hutia.

In Hutia, listen to the kōauau and pūmotumotu.

Students could make a pūmotumotu out of PVC pipe or use the following articles to make other Māori instruments to play.School Journal, Part 1, Number 1, 2001, pp11-13   Make a Pūrerehua

School Journal, Part 4, Number 2, 1997, pp11-14   Make your own Kōauau

The Winds of Tawhirimatea, Connected 1 2004, pp26-32, and the accompanying Teachers’ notes, provide extensive information on traditional Maori instruments, as does the website, http://whakaahua.maori.org.nz

Notes collated by Catherine Short, ALE Department, FEDU. University of Waikato, 2013, from Ministry of Education (2006). Kiwi Kidsongs, Waiata 15. Wellington: Learning Media.