Monday, February 9, 2015

Maori Song PERFECT for Earth Day or unit on nature or trees

I have a "thing" for New Zealand.. well, truth be told, I have a thing for other cultures.  While researching music for an upcoming book (hopefully publishing late this year!) on international clapping songs, I came across a lovely fellow music teacher and fan of Orff (Orff-fan.. get it?) and she introduced me to a couple new Maori songs from New Zealand.  The Maori people are fascinating and their waiata (songs), while lovely, are often not appropriate to use outside of their culture; prayers, war songs, songs specific to Maori life.  There are several, though, that are powerful and breathtaking and I'm not talking about the haka (war chants where tattoed men slap their chests, raise their eyebrows, open their eyes big, stick out their tongues and clap/stamp).  One of these is Koromiko... truly lovely!
This is a collection of the waiata (folk songs) of Maori:
Consider also playing some titi torea, Māori stick games.

This is one of the late Hirini Melbourne's nature songs. More info on Hirini Melbourne here:

Perfect piece to add ostinato; listen for the stick on the backing track.

   Lovely melody, combine with the names of the trees where you live!

About halfway down you will find the song, under resources:


Koromiko, Karaka, Ti Kouka             Lowland Hebe, Karaka, Cabbage Tree
Nga rakau o te ngahere                       The trees of the forest
Nga rakau o te ngahere           The trees of the forest

Tarata, Ngaio, Totara                          Lemonwood, Mousehole tree, Totara
Nga rakau o te ngahere                       The trees of the forest
Nga rakau o te ngahere           The trees of the forest

Titiro ki nga puawai                Look at the flowers
Titiro ki nga rau                       Look at the leaves
He rereke tenei i tena              There’s a difference between this one and that one
He rereke, he rereke                            They are different, all different
He rereke, he rereke                            All unusual, all unique





  1. I do a Maori unit with my 5th graders. We use poi balls, rhythm sticks, and make our own haka dances. I will definitely use this post for some new ideas when I do the unit again this year. Thank you!

    1. Do you know Paki Paki? I learned it from a Maori tribe member. It will be coming out in my book later this year. I am so glad you celebrate the culture and spirit of the Maori people; they are lovely and what a beautiful, rich culture!

    2. I don't know Paki Paki, but I'll keep an eye out for your book later this year!

    3. Thanks, Sandra! I'll put a post on it as we get closer to publication... worked with Brent Holl (editor) for two hours last night on it. We've got a great start and I really like some of the supplemental features we are going to include; lyric slides, videos of some of the clapping games, etc.! It will be a good resource, I hope.

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