Renown songbird silenced

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Today is the last day of renowned Māori composer Tommy Taurima in Nuhaka. ‘Kōtiro Māori’, ‘Te Rina’, and many other compositions have been performed in his honour over the last few days while tributes of those at the final farewell were captured by Te Ao Māori News.

Dr Ash Puriri of Ngāti Kahungunu says, “He was the most talented for composing songs we see these characteristics of where he grew up, the long beach, the sea of Rongomaiwahine and Kahungunu.”

In 1963, Tommy Taurima was the first Māori teacher in the night show at the Polynesian Cultural Centre in Oahu, Hawai'i.

Seamus Fitzgerald from the Polynesian Cultural Centre says, “He was the expert teacher for many cultural performers from the many islands of Te Moananui ā Kiwa.”

Taurima was just sixteen when he composed his first song. Since that time he gained a reputation for composing songs, many of which are sung to this day.

Puriri says, “We still hold the songs that remember him, so that's a big basket too of songs that he composed, so maybe we should organise another group to put out all of his songs to the world.”

Although he has passed, his voice remains through his many songs.