Ngāpuhi sing to the tune of unity

By Taroi Black

Ngāpuhi descendants living in Auckland hosted an event with the aim of uniting their tribe through waiata workshops. The project Ara Ngāpuhi is the third gathering this year to learn history and their unique approach to haka. 

Auckland delegate Ruki Tobin says, “Ara Ngāpuhi was established for descendants who derive from Northland and affiliate to Ngāpuhi. We want them to take part in these workshops to learn their songs and haka, with the hope of sharing this knowledge going forward.”

The project highlight's the need for today's generation of Ngāpuhi to understand the significance of their haka and anthems. 

“This will also ensure that these teachings will last forever amongst our generation. From there, we'll analyse what new compositions, tunes, content, traditional chants we can create that shows relevance for today.”

As part of Ara Ngapuhi project, iwi members were able to learn songs and haka such as Toro Mai, Aha Ngāpuhi E, Tūtū Ngārahu and Waimirirangi, a waiata that was composed five years ago which recites Ngāpuhi history and whakapapa the connects all its descendants.   

Haka tutor Chris Henare says, “We were very lucky that our relation Henare Kingi from Te Rarawa who gave me and my partner the honour of presenting the song to our people who live all over the country. This is a way of uniting our people.”

Ara Ngāpuhi will run four times every year for Ngāpuhi descendants.