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Legends of the Maori

“Mourn with the Sighing Wind.”

page 318

“Mourn with the Sighing Wind.”

This waiata-tangi was the late Sir James Carroll’s favourite song of affection and sorrow. He chanted it at the Maori gathering in Parliament House, Wellington, to wail over the body of Mr. Seddon on June 21, 1906. It is an ancient lament for a loved one taken away by death:—

No te ao te hua-ra-tanga
Riro ki te po;
Waiho noa hei tumanako
Ma te ngakau.
Kei tawhiti to-hou tinana,
Kei te reo o tuku;
Tenei au e noho ana
I te pouritanga,
Mapu kau noa atu i konei
Au koha hau raro—i!


What tender thoughts of thee arise;
My chieftain vanished in the night.
Nought is left my heart to cherish
But fond longing—fond and vain.
Thou art for ever severed from my side,
And spirit voices breathe thy name.
Here in this lonely world
I sit in dark despair,
And mourn with the sighing northern wind.

The lament was chanted by the East Coast people when they mourned over Timi Kara himself in 1926.