Waiata tangi composed by Henare Te Owai

This waiata tangi was composed by Henare Te Owai after the death of Pine Tamahori. This waiata is a whakatauaki or guidance that enables how to forge future leadership and the trade-offs that go with the terrain.  This is what happened to my Koro Henare when he was away from his homelands in Makarika when his dear friend Koro Pine Tamahore passed away. It reminisces about the trials and tribulations of leadership succession at the marae, community through to institutional levels. Some Māori people are placed in leadership roles where it takes them away from their whānau and hapu areas. Thus the marae are left with not many people to transition to the paepae or area of whaikōrero (oral speech functions of historical, genealogical and important cultural knowledge).

This is a Te Aitanga a Mate, Ngāti Porou lament sung at tangi and waiata that originated from Makarika on the East Coast of the North Island, New Zealand. My parents (Ihipera Morrell and the late Koroni Neha Toki) were raised in this area from childhood through to adulthood. Koro Henare Te Owai is my Great Grandmother’s brother or my Great Grand Uncle. Permission has been granted from my late father’s, first cousin Nicola Taewa who endorsed this posting of our whānau waiata on Te Whānau Lab website.

Kia tau i te  rangimarie e ōku whānau. Ka tangi hotuhotu, ka heke o te roimata me te hupe maha i ōku koroua me toku papa. Arohanui tino pumau nā tō moko me tamahine ko Tia Nita Neha.

I runga ahau o Ngā Puhi1
Ka tae ake o rongo
Ka piri mai ko te aroha
Ka kai kino eHoki atu taku tangi
Te marae o Kapohanga
Ki o koringa, e Pine
I te oranga e

Ma wai ra e taurima
Te marae i waho nei?
Ma te tika, ma te pono
Me te aroha e

Tau tahi, tau rua2
E kore koe e wareware
Ka piri mai ko te aroha
Hei hoa haere e

Piki atu, heke atu
Ngā rori ki Te Reinga3
Piki heke, tahi atu
Me te aroha e

I mahara hoki au
He kai pai te aroha
Kāore ia
He kai kawa e

I runga ahau o nga hiwi
Ka pai na taku titiro
Ki te ara i nunumi ai
Ngā tira haere e

Kei huia mai koutou
Kaore he aroha
Kei rōto i ahau
E kai ana e

I was amongst Ngā Puhi
When the news about you reached me
Grief reached me
And overcame meMy lament returns
To the marae, Kapohanga
To the places you frequented, Pine
Whilst alive

Who will lead our marae in Te Awe Mapara?
To the marae Rongohaere, Kapohanga and Rongo i te Kai
Truth, honesty
And love will.

Regardless of the amount of years
You shall never be forgotten
Grief will remain close
As a constant companion

Rising and falling
Are the roads to Te Reinga
Rising and falling
Like my sorrow

I was mistaken
That love was a good thing
That it was not
A bitter thing

I was upon the hills
So that my sight was clear
To the road that wandering parties
Travelled into the distance

Lest it be said by others
There maybe no love seen that is visible
Indeed, it is within
Gnawing away

   Amongst Ngā Puhi –  Koro Henare Te Owai was far away up in Northland when Koro Pine Tamahore died on the East coast. At the time, because of his expertise in Kapa Haka, Koro Henare was commissioned by Koro Sir Apirana Ngata to help revive waiata with the whānau in Northland. This mission was to maintain Te Reo me te tikanga o Māori.

2   Tau tahi, tau rua – “Be it one, two years’ time, or whenever, the time and pain makes no difference.” It still remains.

3   Koro Henare Te Owai had indeed been travelling up and down many hills on the roads heading north towards Cape Reinga, and he uses this as a metaphor for
his mixed emotions as the kawemate or soul of his dear friend Koro Pine that now heads towards a place of spiritual departure.

To locate this to now, as potential leaders you may witness the same experiences as my Koro if you come from far away lands. This is part of being human and the sacrifice that goes with the lived experience. Take care and be kind to the ones that you love most as this is the highest form of leadership. Kia tau i te rangimarie.

 

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