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The Maoris in the Great War

"Te Ope Tuatahi!"

"Te Ope Tuatahi!"

page 179

The First Maori Contingent.

(This was composed as a recruiting song, to raise men for the Maori Contingent and money for the Maori Soldiers' Fund. It proved an excellent stimulant for enlistment for active service, and it produced nearly £8,000 for the Fund, among the East Coast natives. Mr. A. T. Ngata, M.P., wrote the first and second verses of the Maori original.)—

E te ope tuatahi
No Aotearoa,
No Te Wai-pounamu,
No nga tai e wha.
Ko koutou ena
E nga rau e rima,
Ko te Hokowhitu toa
A Tu-mata-uenga:
I hinga ki Ihipa,
Ki Karipori ra ia;
E ngau nei te aroha,
Me te mamae.

E te ope tuarua,
No Mahaki rawa,
Na Hauiti koe,
Na Porourangi:
I haere ai Henare
Me to Wiwi,
I patu ki te pakanga,
Ki Paranihi ra ia.
Ko wai he morehu
Hei kawe korero
Ki te iwi nui e,
E taukuri nei?

E te ope tuaiwa
No Te Arawa,
No Te Tai-rawhiti,
No Kahungunu.
E haere ana 'hau
Ki runga o Wiwi
Ki reira 'hau nei,
E tangi ai.
Me mihi kau atu
I te nuku o te whenua,
Hei konei ra e,
E te tau pumau.

page 180

We greet our first war band
From Aotea-roa,
From the Island of Greenstone:
We sing of our warriors,
Our gallant Five Hundred,
The chosen heroes
Of Tu-mata-uenga,
The Angry-Eyed War God.
Some fell in Egypt,
Some on Gallipoli;
Now pangs of sharp sorrow
Our sad hearts are piercing.

From the Coast of the Sunrise,
Came our Second Contingent,
The men of Mahaki;
Men of Tolago Bay,
Warriors of Ngati-Porou.
Farewell, O Henare,*
Who led your company
And fell in war's thunder
Nobly fighting in France.
And who will survive there
To take the last message
To our own loved people
In dark sorrow bowed?

Our Ninth fighting Contingent
Comes from Te Arawa,
From the Coast of the Sunrise
From Kahungunu's land.
And now I am leaving
For France's red war fields.
There I'll remember;
My heart will send greetings
O'er far land and ocean
To my own constant love.

page 181

“Tangata puhuruhuru” and “Poilu.”

There is an interesting similarity of meaning between the Maori term “tangata puhuruhuru”—literally “hairy man”—in the famous haka song “Ka maté, ka maté, ka ora, ka ora,” and the popular French word for the soldier in the Great War, “poilu.” The original diversion of “poilu,” bearing the same significance as “puhuruhuru,” to its war use was curious. In an article in the “National Review” (January, 1922), Mr. Edgar Preston said that the word was used by Balzac in his “Medicin de Campagne,” when describing Napoleon's crossing of the Beresina: “General Eble, under whose orders were the pontonniers, could find only forty-two sufficiently intrepid (assez poilus) to undertake the work.” The idea behind the word seemed to be an association of hairiness with manliness, and Mr. Preston quoted the French proverb, “Il n'a pas de poils sur le ventre,” used as a term of reproach.

“Ka mate, ka mate,” etc., is only a portion of a very ancient Maori chant. The original song begins, “Kikiki, kakaka, kikiki, kakaka, Kei waniwania taku aro.”.

The Ngati-Manawa Tribe.

Page 4.—The losses of the Ngati-Manawa tribe in the war out of twenty-one who served were three killed and two died of sickness; two were wounded. Besides those who enlisted in the Pioneer Battalion (twenty), Trooper J. H. Bird served in the Third Auckland Mounted Rifles, and was killed on Gallipoli, August 8th, 1915.