Waiata: Singing in te reo

Ko tēnei te wiki o te reo Māori! Each day this week we'll be posting about a different aspect of strengthening te reo Māori.

Sitting in the heart of the Māori culture and traditions are waiata. These songs contain experience and knowledge to inspire us, to be passed from generation to generation. Listening and singing along to waiata is an additional way to support your learning and boost your confidence in speaking te reo.

If you have not been lucky enough to have been taught one first hand then the New Zealand Folk Song Website has some great tunes with English translations. I particularly like He Hōnore as it’s the first song I learnt in te reo.

If you are just starting to learn te reo or have children that are learning a great way to help is to borrow some of our music CDs. Check out this list for some ideas of where to begin your search.

Taku mei ao

He huarākau

Te kōtare - waiata Māori for children, teachers and whānau

Whitiora - Maisy Rika's third album

Songs for Bubbas - Anika Moa's first album of children's lullubies

Waiata - 50 years of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa recording career

Waiata - hits from Howard Morrison, Prince Tui Teka, John Rowles and more

Another way to get some waiata into your week would be attending one of our storytimes sessions this week, which will all have some te reo Māori waiata included. Singing along makes it more fun for everyone!

There are some great recent examples of waiata from popular New Zealand artists such as Stan Walker, Anika Moa and Maisey Rika. A new album, Waiata / Anthems, opens a new window, is being released this September to coincide with Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori. It features some of the big hits from the likes of Six60, Drax Project, Sons of Zion in te reo.


Tangaroa Whakamautai

Speaking of anthems, the one waiata all Kiwis should start with, in terms of learning te reo lyrics, would be our own national anthem, God of nations. Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori has produced an easy to print song sheet with the first verse in both English and Māori.

For some nice sites that give you access to waiata in downloadable formats, take a look at Kotahi Mano Kaika, opens a new window (Ngai Tahu) and Hei Waiata, opens a new window (The Ministry of Education).

More information

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