The songs of Māori tradition are a living art form and an abundant source of knowledge about tribal history and culture. From the 1920s, Sir Āpirana Ngata began collecting and annotating these songs – a massive undertaking that, with the help of translators Pei Te Hurinui Jones and later Hirini Moko Mead, became the treasured four-volume Ngā Mōteatea.
This new book, Ngā Mōteatea: An Introduction/He Kupu Arataki, is an introduction to Ngata’s classic collection. Its first essay outlines the origins and publication history of the Ngā Mōteatea volumes; the second celebrates the power and meaning of Māori song, discussing styles, roles, poetry, cultural content, tribal origins, composers and methods of composition. With dual text in English and Māori, illustrations, and 10 songs reproduced from the volumes, Ngā Mōteatea: An Introduction is a perfect entry point for students, teachers or singers interested in the rich and vibrant poetry of the traditional songs. Ngā Mōteatea: An Introduction/He Kupu Arataki is published by Auckland University Press in association with the Polynesian Society, with assistance from Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga and Creative New Zealand.