Maranga Mai e te Iwi

Aug. 19, 2019, 2:58 p.m.

A collective of local Kapa Haka experts have been gathering throughout the year to workshop Ngāpuhi waiata, haka and korero in an effort to strengthen learning resources.

“Maranga mai e te iwi” was recently held in Whangārei in response to upcoming Tuia 250 commemorations but kaiako Recenia Kaka says the kaupapa is also about bringing together generations of Kapa Haka enthusiasts from all regions of Ngāpuhi to share knowledge.

“The Tuia 250 is about coming together and celebrating our stories of home here. The second kaupapa was around bringing our waiata back from 40-50 decades ago.

“It was neat seeing our taiohi arrive today, our pakeke arrive and then our kuia coming together.

Chair of the Waitangi Cultural Society Joby Hopa said “Maranga mai e te iwi” is the name given to the kaupapa in honour of the famed Ngāpuhi waiata “Nga puāwai o Ngāpuhi” composed by Piripi Cope.

“We thought about five years ago to name our kaupapa in the North, Maranga mai e te iwi.  So every regionals is called Maranga mai e te iwi and that's really about wake up! rise up!

“This kaupapa is about bringing together a whole heap of waiata, haka, kōrero o te kainga so it can become a 101 resource mō nga uri o Te Tai Tokerau, no matter where we might live,” Hopa said.

“It’s a space to be able to learn, to be able to feed off each other, to learn in a space of pakeke who have been doing kapa haka all of their lives.  Its a real special time for us to bring back that waiata-ā-ringa, poi haka from home,” Kaka said.

“I’ve been doing Kapa Haka all my life and I’ve seen all those kaumatua that had that mātauranga, we’ve lost.  So archiving and capturing those people who still have mātauranga and asking them, who composed our waiata? Why were they composed? What's the korero behind it?  It's about capturing that kōrero so that our uri have this taonga to pass onto the next generation”.

A common issue that occurs in Kapa Haka is incorrect performance of waiata as time passes by but the organisers say these wānanga are an opportunity to learn the original intention behind the composition.

“There's been a few people voicing over the years that we’re singing the songs wrong, doing the haka wrong, as a fraternity, everybody has come together to pick up that challenge,” Hopa said.

“We know there's not one right way to everything and we know this in Te ao Māori we heard this today, what they sing in Ahipara is different to what they sing at Te Kao.” 

“When you've been taught a certain way, it takes 70 times to unlearn it.  But there is something about learning an item with integrity, of how it was composed so you've got to be quick to unlearn” Kaka said.

“When someone composes a taonga, that person actually has a certain intention for it so I think when we can try and perform it in the way it was originally composed ,there's just some magic there, and when you're seeing your nannies in line...it brings back some good memories.”

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