Old tunes stand the test of time

By Taroi Black

Tommy Taurima is widely known as one of the last composers of the golden era in Māoridom to come from the Hawkes Bay region. He’s known for his famous tunes Kotiro Māori, Te Rina and many others.

His contribution to Māori music and songwriting spans over six decades. He was only 18 years old when he wrote his first waiata for his local Mormon-choir group and kapa haka, during his time in Hamilton, Waikato.

Now at 80 years old, he continues to write music for many different occasions such as Te Matatini. His niece Te Rina Pomare says, “I only know 40 of his waiata that he’s composed.”

“He also composed a song to celebrate Te Matatini and to also acknowledge the late Tama Huata, the former chairman of Te Matatini. He completed that piece of music last year in August.”

Mr Taurima was also part of a cultural movement in Hawai’i and assisted in building the Polynesian Cultural Centre’s profile.