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Legends of the Maori

A Chant of Praise for Pomare

page 284

A Chant of Praise for Pomare

THIS song (pao) was composed and chanted by the people of Manu- korihi (Waitara) in 1928. It was given as an accompaniment to the joyful poi dance, in token of pleasure at the news from Wellington that a Royal Cómmission had been set up by the Government to investigate the long-standing Maori grievances in connection with the confiscation of land after the wars of the Sixties. Sir Maui Pomare was chiefly instrumental in the appointment of this body, and his labours which were crowned by this measure of justice to the native tribes earned the gratitude of the people. It expressed intense satisfaction that at last the causes of the muru-whenua and the raupatu, the confiscation and the conquest, were now to be enquired into. The grievances affected not only Taranaki but Waikato, Tauranga, and other districts, the causes, the Maoris explained, of the patriotic prophesyings of Te Whiti and Tohu; of the mission of King Tawhiao to England, to lay his complaint before Queen Victoria; of the far journeying also of Tupu Taingakawa to London, with Rata Mahuta, the old Maori king’s grandson. This is the jubilant pao of Taranaki:

Na Pomare te waea i patu mai ki te iwi;
Kua oti te Muru me te Raupatu; e—.

E Whiti, mai i te Po, whakarongo ake ra;
Kua rite nga tongi mo Waitara; e—.

E Te Rata, i Waikato, whakarongo mai ra;
Kua oti te Muru me te Raupatau; e—.

Tupu Taingakawa, whakarongo mai ra;
Kua whakawakia a Waitara; e—–.

E Ngai-te-Rangi ma, hoe-tahi mai ra;
Kia whiti tatou ki te oranga; e—.

E nga iwi o te mamae, koakoa ai ra;
Kua puta tatou ki te oranga; e—.

Nga tongi onamata, kei runga i a Pomare;
I oti ai nga take o Muru-Raupatu; e—.

page 285

Nga whakawhetai nui ki a koe, e Pomare;
I te mea kua tu te pakanga mo Waitara; e—.

Ka poipoia koe e o iwi, e Pomare;
I te mea kua whakawakia a Waitara; e—.

He rau mano putiputi, ko koe ra, e Pomare;
Patu ana te kakara, te iwi nui; o-o-i.

[Translation by Hare Hongi.]

From Pomare has come the joy-giving telegram;
Plunder and confiscation are to be ended.

O Te Whiti, hearken in the darkness of death;
The wounds of Waitara are at last to be healed.

O King Rata, of Waikato, hearken, take heed;
Plunder and confiscation are to be ended.

O Tupu Taingakawa, hearken, hearken;
The wrongs of Waitara are to be adjudged upon.

O Ngai-te-Rangi of Tauranga, join us with your canoes:
Together we will paddle across to the land-of-life.

O ye who have been wounded, join us in acclamation;
We have emerged to these life-giving joys.

The scars of yore Pomare has borne,
Plunder and confiscation must end.

All great praise be unto thee, O Pomare,
For thus having righted the wrongs of Waitara.

Thou, Pomare, shalt be exalted by thy people,
For securing the adjustment of Waitara’s woes.

Thou, Pomare, art as a garland of choicest flowers,
Whose fragrant perfume is being wafted over thy glad people.